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Flying Squirrel

Profile Information

Member since: Fri Aug 20, 2010, 06:40 PM
Number of posts: 1,671

About Me

I am the same DU member who formerly posted under the name FlyingSquirrel (no space). I killed this profile by changing both my password and email at a time when I felt I had developed an unhealthy addiction to the internet in general and DU in particular. Not sayin' I'm any better now ;-)

Journal Archives

Sooo.. my girlfriend is now a "potential terrorist" according to the FBI


The above post was locked, justifably in my opinion, as the source article was clearly from a 9-11 conspiracy theory site and as the conversation quickly became dominated by arguments which have been expressly prohibited from GD.

My girlfriend has watched a movie or two which convinced her that 9-11 was an inside job. Meh. I don't argue with her about it. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't - either way my opinion of G.W. Bush et al couldn't be lower.

So I tell her about this deal where the FBI now considers her to be a potential terrorist, and her response surprises me - she says, "And it's even worse because my skin is brown."

See, I rarely even think about her skin color (other than the fact that it's beautiful) but I'm Caucasian and so I'm somewhat clueless at times. She is, of course, correct - her skin color raises the stakes.

Well, so what do I do now that I know she may be a terrorist? Why, just what you'd expect from someone who loves their country: I report her.

Oh, wipe that look off your face. It's not like I did it on purpose. It's not like this country has become a complete fascist police state (yet) where someone would be expected to rat out their partner on the slightest suspicion of wrongthink. I just posted the ludicrous thing on Facebook - I regretted doing so afterwards, but it's too late now. Her name and the word "terrorist" are now in the NSA's database, and if she ends up on the no-fly list it will be all my fault.

Wonderful country we live in, isn't it?

Posted by Flying Squirrel | Sat Sep 21, 2013, 08:24 AM (9 replies)


I posted a couple of graphs showing how the conversation on DU had morphed from the NSA to Syria over the past couple of months...


Then I thought, it would be interesting to be able to see more terms at the same time, and watch as they change from day to day.

September 15 would look something like this:

I can't remember what that's called. Any thoughts on this idea?
Posted by Flying Squirrel | Mon Sep 16, 2013, 10:34 PM (6 replies)

Changing the conversation: NSA to Syria, a graph of DU posts

I took the liberty of doing an advanced search and counting the number of OP's on DU which had the words "NSA" and "Syria" in them... Interesting stuff.

Posted by Flying Squirrel | Mon Sep 16, 2013, 06:17 PM (9 replies)

Sometimes a crappy phone camera can produce a very interesting picture

At least I thought so
Posted by Flying Squirrel | Sun Sep 15, 2013, 10:38 PM (2 replies)

The Onion just posted a disturbingly accurate article about 82% of DUers

Including myself...

CALDWELL, ID—Calling it a vital part of his daily routine, local man and utterly depraved masochist Richard Petrillo revealed to reporters Friday that he enjoys keeping up with the news.


“There’s a lot going on these days, and I like to stay on top of things,” Petrillo said of his disturbing desire to follow news stories, including those about the Middle East, the state of the U.S. economy, and the recent activities of the National Security Agency. “With such a wealth of knowledge at our fingertips, it just makes sense to keep abreast of the latest developments.”


According to those close to Petrillo, the 36-year-old web designer devotes several hours each week to this vile form of self-abuse. He reportedly indulges his twisted obsession by seeking out news articles and videos on everything from politics and international affairs to health care and the environment—often multiple times a day.


Sources confirmed that Petrillo makes no effort whatsoever to conceal his insatiable desire for self-inflicted torment, going so far as to take pride in his familiarity with issues such as America’s distribution of wealth, the latest jobs report, what’s happening in Congress recently, and the nation’s current incarceration rate. In fact, he is reportedly not content with simple masochism, and often spreads the anguish of his knowledge to his fellow citizens.


Posted by Flying Squirrel | Sat Sep 14, 2013, 06:53 AM (19 replies)

*** DU UP-RECs -- September 1-7, 2013 ***

It's back! I had to choose between re-resurrecting the DUzy's and continuing the DU UP-REC idea. So... this was my choice. It's kind of a little booster shot for your mood.

DU UP-REC stands for:
Delightfully Unique - Uplifting, Positive - Regenerative, Elevating, Cheerful!

If you like this idea and would like to help out with future installments, please pm me a link.


DU UP-REC's: September 1-7, 2013


neighbors harvest crops for farmer with two broken legs

RUDYARD, Mont. (AP) — A Rudyard farmer, who was unable to harvest his fields due to two broken legs, watched from his wheelchair as his neighbors rallied at his farm to help him.

The English philosopher John Locke once said, "To love our neighbor as ourselves is such a truth for regulating human society, that by that alone one might determine all the cases in social morality."

This rang true for Joe Becker as he watched the line of his neighbors' combines harvesting the fields he was unable to attend to.

"I had six combines, several trucks, a tractor and all kinds of help today and yesterday," Joe Becker said Wednesday. "To have those combines lined up like they were cutting their own crops was great. Once they got together, nobody had to tell anybody what to do or ask anybody to do anything. They just did it."

Becker spent five days in the hospital at Kalispell after falling 12 feet while helping his son build a cabin. He broke the tibia in his left leg, in which 10 screws had been placed, and his right leg had to be set in a cast after developing a hairline fracture and breaking bones in all his toes.

"It was bad timing on my part," Becker said.

Becker said while he was on mandatory bed rest at the hospital, he received a call from one of his neighbors, who told Becker he had enough to worry about and he would not have to worry about his farm.



painted churches

high hill painted church 3 by rdking647, on Flickr

high hill painted church 4 by rdking647, on Flickr

high hill painted church 6 by rdking647, on Flickr

praha painted church 2 by rdking647, on Flickr

praha painted church 1 by rdking647, on Flickr


Today's Hawaii excursion

We went to the botanical garden today.

This is called beehive ginger.

I think this is bromeliad.

This is called a cannonball tree. Weird.

This flower was the size of a football.


Dog Finds Hungry Friend, Brings Him Home to Share Dinner



Without paperwork, school lunch free in Boston

Source: Boston Globe

Boston public schools will begin serving free lunches to all students this school year even if families have the financial means to pay, school officials are expected to announce Tuesday.

The meal program, more than a year in the making, is part of an experimental federal initiative that aims to make it easier for students from low-income families to receive free meals by eliminating the need to fill out paperwork, including potentially invasive questions about income.

Cities such as Atlanta, Detroit, and Chicago have been or will be participating in the free-meal program. Starting next school year, the program will be open to any school district across the country with high concentrations of students from low-income families. The cost of the free meals will be covered by the federal government.

“Every child has a right to healthy, nutritious meals in school, and when we saw a chance to offer these healthy meals at no cost to them, we jumped at the chance,” said Mayor Thomas M. Menino in a prepared statement. “This takes the burden of proof off our low-income families and allows all children, regardless of income, to know healthy meals are waiting for them at school every day.”

Read more: http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/09/02/boston-public-schools-will-offer-free-lunches-all-students/2aaUy5sxJjIak9ndGDHxkJ/story.html


Husband Of Gay Service Member Booed At GOP Debate Now Has His Military Spouse ID Card

“You’re official,” Maj. Stephen Snyder-Hill said to his husband, Joshua, after he got his spousal military ID card on Tuesday"

"WASHINGTON — Major Stephen Snyder-Hill found himself at the center of the national debate over the end of “don’t ask, don’t tell” when he was booed by audience members at a a September 2011 Republican presidential debate when he asked about the change that allows him now to serve his country and talk openly about his husband, Joshua.

"Debate Crowd Booed Gay Soldier"http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/09/debate-crowd-booed-gay-soldier/

Two years later, in a sign of the changed landscape for same-sex couples, Stephen and Joshua Snyder-Hill went to the Defense Supply Center, Columbus, or DSCC, in Ohio on Tuesday — where Joshua became “official,” as Stephen put it, and received his spousal military ID card on the first day the cards were available to same-sex spouses.

“I’ve been in the military for 24 years. I was pre-‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ during and after. It’s just been a really long fight, I think, for military families to be able to get the same protection that other soldiers’ families get,” Stephen Snyder-Hill told BuzzFeed Tuesday afternoon. “I mean, we’ve had times when we’ve had family days, things that just beat down your morale because you just feel like you’re not the same or you’re not equal or you’re not protected as well. And I think that now, we’re pretty much equal.”

There's more..

h/t http://theobamadiary.com/

This has been such a long hard fought battle and it's heartwarming to be able to celebrate something so wonderful that has come to be for our Gay Brothers and Sisters in the Military.


Amazing birds' nests from around the world


More at link


Actor gives home to abandoned pets in S. Calif.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Nearly 35 years ago, Leo Grillo thought he could get people to stop dumping dogs and cats in the forests and deserts of Southern California.

He discovered quickly that wasn't going to happen. There seems to be no end to the number of animals he finds discarded on the side of the road.


Grillo promised every unwanted animal that crossed his path that he would keep it safe and do all he could to keep it happy and healthy for life. He set up DELTA (Dedication & Everlasting Love to Animals) Rescue to keep that promise, and today, with 1,500 dogs, cats and horses, it is the largest no-kill, care-for-life sanctuary in the nation for abandoned pets.

The sanctuary sits on 115 hilltop acres in western Los Angeles County and has an annual budget of $8 million and about 50 employees. On the grounds are a state-of-the-art hospital, a full-time veterinarian and its own fire department.

Much more here:


1000 "spent" female chickens flown by private plane to cage free life

Chickens on a plane! 1,000 to take red-eye to 'freedom'

An Animal Place staffer holds a hen rescued from slaughter.
Chickens aren't exactly known to be frequent fliers — let alone cross-country travelers. But on Sept. 4, over 1,000 rescued hens will take to the friendly skies.

California-based shelter and sanctuary Animal Place will airlift the group of recently-rehabilitated chickens to new lives on the East Coast, as part of its 3-year-old program to find homes for animals originally destined for slaughter.

The female chickens, who will head to New York, are part of a group of 3,000 rescued at an “egg-laying” farm that contacted Animal Place at the end of July, to avoid having to slaughter the animals.

"When the hens slow down or stop producing eggs, the industry considers them to be 'spent,'" Gary Smith, a spokesperson for Animal Place, told TODAY.com. "They are no longer economically viable in the industries eyes, so they are sent to slaughter for cheap chicken meat or pet food."

Getting the chickens flight-ready was not easy.

“The birds were covered with parasites and we had to do a series of treatments to eliminate them all,” said Animal Place Executive Director Kim Sturla told TODAY.com via email. “Each bird has been health checked which also includes nail trimming since none of the birds received any individual care during the two years living in cages.”

Some hens needed antibiotics — all suffer from osteoporosis due to their crowded cages. One particularly grueling challenge for Animal Place staffers was preventing the hens from “clumping,” or climbing on top of each other in their barn from the stress of such a drastic change in their living situation.

“Each evening a team of eight to 10 people spent one to two hours de-clumping the 3,000 birds,” Sturla said. “It is time consuming, exhausting, and stressful, because there is always the high likelihood some will suffocate and die if you are not diligent.”


Theodore Roosevelt National Park: Where Wildlife & Buffalo Still Roam


Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt, the 26th U.S. President, fell in love with the North Dakota badlands during his first visit there in 1883 while he was hunting bison. Roosevelt believed the ‘Wild West’ had a rugged lifestyle and ‘perfect freedom.’ The establishment of Theodore Roosevelt National Park was to memorialize Roosevelt’s life, and the influence the landscape had on him and his conservation ethics. The 110 square miles park is divided into three sections packed with wildlife including bison, feral horses, elk, bighorn sheep, white-tailed deer and mule deer, prairie dogs, and 186 species of birds such as golden eagles, sharp-tailed grouse, and wild turkeys. The largest, South Unit, and the North Unit have about 100 miles of foot and horse trails, wildlife viewing, and opportunities for back country hiking and camping. The Elkhorn Ranch Unit which has Roosevelt’s Elkhorn Ranch is located in-between the two larger units. Besides wonderful wildlife, the National Park Service calls the bizarre geologic rock formations the “grim fairyland” of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Roosevelt said the badlands were “so fantastically broken in form and so bizarre in color as to seem hardly properly to belong to this earth.” Here’s a look at the wildlife at Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota, one of the few places where the buffalo still roam.


when special needs child throws a tantrum in restaurant a stranger...

A North Carolina mother says a stranger's kind-hearted note was a "blessing" that wiped away long weeks of aggravation.

Ashley England and her family had tried to eat dinner Friday at the Stag & Doe restaurant in China Grove, N.C., but planned to bolt when she couldn't calm her 8-year-old son, Riley, who has special needs.

"He threw the phone and started screaming," England told WBTV. "The past few weeks have been very hard and trying for us - especially with public outings. Riley was getting loud and hitting the table and I know it was aggravating to some people."

But if most customers were annoyed, one understood and quietly sent a waitress on a special errand to help the family.

"I'll try to do this without crying," the waitress told the family. "But another customer has paid for your bill tonight and wanted me to give you this note."needs child: ‘God only gives special children to special people’




I love my tree guy. I love him.


My old maples are dying faster than I can save the money to bring them down before they fall on my house. Last year was the 1st one. I called the 6 tree people closest to my house. Dave was #6. The price he quoted was literally 1/3 of what the others were charging. He's a transplant too, and a former forest ranger. It was too good to be true, so I called his insurance company and confirmed he's 1. got insurance and 2. never had a claim. He says what he's got is better equipment than the locals.

He showed up on tree day with a crew of 2 young men, hired away from either the power or phone company, one of them brand new to him and in training. He tried to tease me by telling me the new guy would be supervising. I one-upped him when I turned to newbie and told him not to worry if he dropped a tree on the roof because I'd knew they were insured and as he could see I could use a new roof. Ha! Dave couldn't back-pedal fast enough Anywho, the 2 young guys did a great job and left me with a nice stack of firewood that I was able to sell to a neighbor, bringing the price of the job even lower. Instead of $1500 (the highest quote) it cost me $400 in the end.

In the meantime, another tree has died. Dave just gave me the quote. I was worried because it's a bigger tree and in the back, so he can't reach it with his bucket truck. $450. $450!!!!

Then I showed him another one that is dying and is next to my permanent pasture fence. This one is even bigger than the other two -- he said its a good 4 cords and will he a medium sized house for a year. Once he realized he could bring his truck into the pasture, though, it all became easier. $950.00. That won't come down until next summer, though, unless we have a dry spell.

I feel like a charity case, and don't like that. But he told me he ties my jobs to other, bigger jobs in the area so he can cut me breaks because he knows I'm struggling. He has at least one billionaire/1%er client, and he said he can't see charging more for a job he can do in 2 hours.

He's also incredibly personable. Turns out his stepfather was a techwriter and engineer, lost his career and went back to school...for nursing. He was so proud of his stepfather for doing that in his early 50s. Then I told him essentially the same thing happened to me, I went back for med lab tech in my mid 50s. I graduated summa cum laude, got a single B+ but I didn't mind that. Then he told me his father was straight As, valedectorian. Suddenly I got really pissed about my B+. Explained the oral communications teacher really hated me. Told him the story of how she started screeching at me in the middle of class, and slandered me to the class, half of them never returned and she lost her job as a result. It's NOT FAIR. I should have had straight As too. I should have been valedectorian too!!!!

Anyway, you all would like Dave too. Not only was he a forest ranger, but he'd like to see government run healthcare so everybody would get their basic needs met. He's not sure how ACA is going to affect his business, but he gives his employees health care.


To all who have furry friends.

I found this poem in a book by Willie Morris. He wrote "My Dog Skip." He also wrote a great book about a feline, "My Cat, Spit MGee."

I have always thought that this verse sums up our love of our friends who unfortunately have shorter lifespans than we do.

“We who choose to surround ourselves
with lives even more temporary than our
own, live within a fragile circle;
easily and often breached.
Unable to accept its awful gaps,
we would still live no other way.
We cherish memory as the only
certain immortality, never fully
understanding the necessary plan.”
― Irving Townsend


Down syndrome reversed in newborn mice with single injection

Source: Australia Broadcasting Corporation

US researchers have found a way to reverse Down syndrome in newborn lab mice by injecting an experimental compound that causes the brain to grow normally.

The study, published in the Science Translational Medicine journal, offers no direct link to a treatment for humans but scientists are hopeful it may offer a path towards future breakthroughs.


"We were able to completely normalise growth of the cerebellum through adulthood with that single injection."

The injection also led to unexpected benefits in learning and memory, normally handled by a different part of the brain known as the hippocampus.


Read more: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-09-05/downs-syndrome-reversed-in-newborn-mice/4936412


Pure joy! A young girl meeting her baby brother for the first time:


Hope that bond lasts a lifetime!



Posted by Flying Squirrel | Mon Sep 9, 2013, 07:39 AM (2 replies)

Attention, handymen/women & DIY'ers

I'm getting real tired of putting your stuff back together, and you may be tired of it yourself. Therefore, I've drawn up a quick sketch for those who might think they know how to put two pieces of wood together, but really don't.

For the love of all that is good, please use TWO drill bits from now on when attaching two pieces of wood together with wood screws. Drill bit #1 should be the diameter of the outside threads of your screw; Drill bit #2 should be the diameter of the inside part of the thread (the solid portion of the screw).

You can thank me later when your bird feeder doesn't fall apart.

Posted by Flying Squirrel | Fri Aug 30, 2013, 08:05 PM (42 replies)

Will you have the strength to NOT watch the airstrikes against Syria on the news?

What if the MSM threw a war and nobody watched?

Well, a guy can still dream.

Posted by Flying Squirrel | Wed Aug 28, 2013, 06:13 AM (35 replies)

About those DUzy Awards...

Well, I'm afraid there's not gonna be any this week.

I don't have a lot of support from the people around me on this - my daughter and my girlfriend both want time with me and can't understand why I would spend hours poring through posts on DU. Then there's my brother, to whom I owe money and am supposed to be working it off with yard work etc. (My sister too.) Also I've been tapering off my anti-depressant (in preparation for switching to something else) and this has left me in a particularly non-DUzy-like mood. And I haven't been to an AA meeting in months.

So, as the saying goes, First Things First - unfortunately it looks like the DUzy awards should really come pretty far down the list, lower than I've been putting them.

I still want to do it, but we'll see. Maybe I can find a way to simplify the formatting of them, and the process of searching for them (a lot of people use the word "DUzy" in their posts either in a facetious way or otherwise not really meaning to nominate something for a DUzy, so that increases the number of threads to look through.)

In any case, that's where it stands right now. I want to do them but maybe it's just not meant to be - only time will tell.


Posted by Flying Squirrel | Mon Jul 1, 2013, 02:28 PM (22 replies)

Eppur Si Muove

(Edited for unnecessary length)

"And yet it moves" (Italian: Eppur si muove; ) is a phrase said to have been uttered before the Inquisition by the Italian mathematician, physicist and philosopher Galileo Galilei (1564–1642) in 1633 after being forced to recant his "belief" that the earth moves around the sun. In this context, the implication of the phrase is: despite this recantation, the Church's proclamations to the contrary, or any other conviction or doctrine of men, the Earth does, in fact, move around the sun, and not vice versa. As such, the phrase is used today as a sort of pithy retort implying that "it doesn't matter what you believe; these are the facts".

There is no contemporary evidence that Galileo uttered this expression at his trial; it would certainly have been highly imprudent for him to have done so. The earliest biography of Galileo, written by his disciple Vincenzio Viviani in 1655–1656 does not mention this phrase.

In 1911, the line was found on a Spanish painting owned by a Belgian family. This painting was produced within a year or two after Galileo died as it is dated 1643 or 1645 (the last number is partially obscured). The painting is obviously not historically correct, because it depicts Galileo in a dungeon, but nonetheless shows that some variant of the "Eppur si muove" legend was in circulation immediately after his death when many who had known him were still alive to attest to it, and that it had been circulating for over a century before it was published.

“The moment he was set at liberty, he looked up to the sky and down to the ground, and, stamping with his foot, in a contemplative mood, said, Eppur si muove, that is, still it moves, meaning the earth."

(The above is from Wikipedia.)

I have no idea where I heard or saw this phrase. I woke up and it was just there (although spelled wrong) in my head. I had to look it up to discover its meaning.

Galileo was a courageous man. And stubborn. When I was about 22, I worked at Boeing and took a one-day blueprint reading class. We were given a test, and the instructor gave us the answers to some of the questions before we even began. No clue why. Being the type of person I am, I double-checked the answers he had given us; one of them was wrong. The instructor had left the room. I told the other students I believed one of the answers to be wrong; this sparked a heated discussion. None of the other (approximately 20) students agreed with my assessment; I was also the youngest one there (not that my age was brought up, but it probably was in some minds). And after all, I was just a student who had never even seen a blueprint before, while the instructor had years of experience.

But, being certain and being stubborn, I stuck to my guns. Finally another student went to the instructor's desk and opened the book to the answer section, and I was proven correct. When the instructor came back, another student asked him to re-check the answer to that question, and he gave the incorrect answer once again; another student then asked him to look in the back of the book, which he did. I was not a part of all this, and certainly did not wish to make the instructor look bad; all I cared about was the truth.

The truth is what I care about now. Like Galileo, I'm not stupid enough to let someone in a position of power cut my head off over it. But absent that kind of threat, if I am certain of something I will not back down. The truth matters to me. If I believe the President of the United States is wrong, I'll say it. He is, after all, only human like the rest of us. Yes, I know that I'm not privy to all the information he is. That doesn't mean he can't be wrong and I can't be right about something.

On this board, I'm lucky enough to have a good number of people agree with me when I say the President is acting wrongly. I wonder what motivates the rest of them who hurl accusations our way. Fear, most likely. Truth? Probably not.

Eppur si muove. Strong words, defiant words. True words.

I salute those on DU who have the strength of their convictions with regard to the one thing that should matter to us all above all else: The U.S. Constitution.


Posted by Flying Squirrel | Thu Jun 20, 2013, 08:52 AM (1 replies)
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