Crimes and Misdemeanors Against Nature [via David Adasek]

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has challenged a recent court ruling finding Virginia’s anti-sodomy law unconstitutional....

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled on March 12 that Virginia’s “Crimes Against Nature” statute, which banned oral and anal sex, violates the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. 

Ah, springtime in Virginia, where the hills are mountain laurelly
And birds and bees who do it, do it properly and morally
The Laws of Nature won’t permit a tit to do it orally

Nature’s Laws are absolute, God’s word is unconditionary
Embodying a way of life that’s modest and traditionary
All creatures in Virginia have to do it like a missionary.

Peacocks flaunt their feathers and they strut and pose so zanily
But when it’s time to do it they get down to business banally
‘Cause it’s a Crime of Nature for a bird to do it anally.

And right and wrong are opposites and pose a strict dichotomy
You’ll never see some chickadees or cows or hippopotami
Do it in a way Virginia might construe as sodomy.

Tiny Dragon [via Nina Reznick]

Researchers in Indonesia have discovered what looks like a teeny tiny dragon.

As yet, we have no information on whether they guard small piles of gold or attack miniature castles.

This was a nesting female found in the Lambsuango Forest reserve and was immediately released after this photograph was taken.

No everyone, this is not Photoshopped. Just Google 'gliding lizard' - there are around 15 described species, mostly found in South East Asia. This is thought to be a new species with the genus but further study will be required to confirm that.

Organ Recital [via David Adashek + Robert Sawicki]

Organ Recital n. A long-winded recitation of one's ailments, particularly those related to or caused by aging.

Example Citations:

Often it starts with an innocent greeting, such as "How are you?" When we were younger, the answer was usually, "Fine, how are you?" Lately however, with friends of a certain age, I find that the question will open into a extended discourse about health and aging, reminiscent of the classic Buddhist reflection on the 32 parts of the body

— a report on the liver, lungs, joints, muscles, kidneys, heart — a conversation sometimes known as "the organ recital."

—Wes Nisker, "The Practice of Geezing," The Huffington Post, February 6, 2013

These days, in some circles of old folks, this recapitulation of complaints is known as "the organ recital," and, God knows, it does "divert [the] torments," at least for a bit.

—Daniel Klein, Travels With Epicurus (excerpt; see p. 33), Penguin Books, October 30, 2012

Earliest Citation:

Nor does he mention the fact that he served on the Leukemia Society board before he even got the disease — an eerie irony. "I don't accept the gloomy aspect of things

— to heck with that," Thysell says, sitting in his office just beyond the busy toll gates of the Coronado Bridge. Too many people, he says, "give organ recitals when they get older."

Organ recitals being a recitation of all the things that are wrong with one's body.

—Suzanne Choney, "Byrd's feisty spirit gives bridge run dash," The San Diego Union-Tribune, October 5, 1985


Yes, this phrase isn't even remotely new (I'll bet dollars to doughnuts that it's even older than the earliest citation), but it combines so much wittiness and pithiness in its two-word frame that I just couldn't resist it. Now, about this pain in my foot... 

Related Words:


The Peacock Spider [via Nina Reznick]

Courtship display of the Coastal peacock spider (Maratus speciosus). Hard to believe, but there is not footage of this species yet in any wildlife documentary. It inhabits coastal dune habitats near Perth in Western Australia. Filmed with Canon 60D and 100 mm macro lens. Music in order of appearance: Fossils (Graham Pagano) Didgeridingo (David Anstey) All music from

Freedom and Jeff

Not many people get a picture of this proud bird
Snuggled up next to them!

Freedom and I have been together 11 years this summer.
She came in as a baby in 1998 with two broken wings.
Her left wing doesn't open all the way even after surgery,
It was broken in 4 places.
She's my baby.

When Freedom came in she could not stand
And both wings were broken. She was
Emaciated and covered in lice. We made the
Decision to give her a chance at life, so I took
Her to the vet's office. From then
On, I was always around her. We had her in a
Huge dog carrier with the top off, and it
Was loaded up with shredded newspaper for her to
Lay in. I used to sit and talk to her,
Urging her to live, to fight; and she would lay
There looking at me with those big brown eyes.
We also had to tube feed her for weeks.

This went on for 4-6 weeks, and by then she still
Couldn't stand. It got to the point where the
Decision was made to euthanize her
If she couldn't stand in a week. You know you don't
Want to cross that line between torture and
Rehab, and it looked like death was
Winning. She was going to be put
Down that Friday, and I was supposed to come in
On that Thursday afternoon. I didn't want to go
To the center that Thursday, because I couldn't
Bear the thought of her being euthanized;
But I went anyway, and when I walked in everyone
Was grinning from ear to ear. I went
Immediately back to her cage; and there she was,
Standing on her own, a big beautiful
Eagle. She was ready to live. I was
Just about in tears by then. That
Was a very good day.

We knew she could never fly, so the director
Asked me to glove train her.
I got her used to the glove,
And then to jesses, and we started
Doing education programs for schools
In western Washington .
We wound up in the newspapers,
Radio (believe it or not) and some
TV. Miracle Pets even did a show
About us.

In the spring of 2000, I was diagnosed with
Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. I had stage 3,
Which is not good (one major organ plus
Everywhere), so I wound up doing 8 months of
Chemo. Lost the hair - the whole
Bit. I missed a lot of work. When I
Felt good enough, I would go to Sarvey
And take Freedom out for walks. Freedom would
Also come to me in my dreams and help me fight
The cancer. This happened time and time again.

Fast forward to November 2000

The day after Thanksgiving,
I went in for my last checkup.
I was told that if the cancer was not
All gone after 8 rounds of chemo, then my last
Option was a stem cell transplant. Anyway, they
Did the tests; and I had to come back Monday for
The results. I went in Monday, and I was
Told that all the cancer was gone.

So the first thing I did was get up to Sarvey and
Take the big girl out for a walk. It was misty
And cold. I went to her flight and jessed her
Up, and we went out front to the top of the
Hill. I hadn't said a word to
Freedom, but somehow she knew. She looked at me
And wrapped both
Her wings around me to where I
Could feel them pressing in on my back
(I was engulfed in eagle wings), and she
Touched my nose with her beak and stared into my
Eyes, and we just stood there like that
For I don't know how long . That was a
Magic moment. We have been soul mates ever
Since she came in. This is a very special bird.

On a side note: I have had people who
Were sick come up to us when we are out, and
Freedom has some kind of hold on
Them. I once had a guy who was
Terminal come up to us and
I let him hold her.
His knees just about buckled and he
Swore he could feel her power course through his
Body. I have so many stories like that..

I never forget the honor I have of being so close
To such a magnificent spirit as Freedom. 

Earth As Art: 'How Did Nature Do That?' [via Ivonne de Cervantes ]

Satellites are powerful tools. They beam our TV signals, phone calls and data around the planet. They help us spy, they track storms, they power the GPS signals in our cars and on our phones. But they also send back striking, totally disarming images of planet Earth.
Phytoplankton Bloom, Baltic Sea, 2005 Massive congregations of greenish phytoplankton swirl in the dark water around Gotland, a Swedish island in the Baltic Sea. Phytoplankton are microscopic marine plants that form the first link in nearly all ocean food chains. Blooms of phytoplankton, occur when deep currents bring nutrients up to sunlit surface waters.

See More Images

[via Vincent Atchity]

The triumph of progressivism: Graduation 2013 and 1968

Robert Reich 

Many of you soon-to-be college graduates are determined to make the world a better place. Some of you are choosing careers in public service or joining nonprofits or volunteering in your communities.

But many of you are cynical about politics. You see the system as inherently corrupt. You doubt real progress is possible.

“What chance do we have against the Koch brothers and the other billionaires?” you’ve asked me. “How can we fight against Monsanto, Boeing, JP Morgan, and Bank of America? They buy elections. They run America.”

Let me remind you: Cynicism is a self-fulfilling prophesy. You have no chance if you assume you have no chance.

“But it was different when you graduated,” you say. “The sixties were a time of social progress.”

You don’t know your history.

When I graduated in 1968, the Vietnam War was raging. Over half a million American troops were already there. I didn’t know if I’d be drafted.  A member of my class who spoke at commencement said he was heading to Canada and urged us to join him.

Two months before, Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated. America’s cities were burning. Bobby Kennedy had just been gunned down.

George (“segregation forever”) Wallace was on his way to garnering 10 million votes and carrying five southern states. Richard Nixon was well on his way to becoming president.

America was still mired in bigotry.

I remember a classmate who was dating a black girl being spit on in a movie theater. The Supreme Court had only the year before struck down state laws against interracial marriage.

My entire graduating class of almost 800 contained only six young black men and four Hispanics.

I remember the girlfriend of another classmate almost dying from a back-alley abortion, because safe abortions were almost impossible to get.

I remember a bright young woman law school graduate in tears because no law firm would hire her because she was a woman.

I remember one of my classmates telling me in anguish that he was a homosexual, fearing he’d be discovered and his career ruined.

The environmental movement had yet not been born. Two-thirds of America’s waterways were unsafe for swimming or fishing because of industrial waste and sewage.

I remember rivers so polluted they caught fire. When the Cuyahoga River went up in flames Time Magazine described it as the river that “oozes rather than flows,” in which a person “does not drown but decays.”

In those days, universal health insurance was a pipe dream.

It all seemed pretty hopeless. I assumed America was going to hell.

And yet, reforms did occur. America changed. The changes didn’t come easily. Every positive step was met with determined resistance. But we became better and stronger because we were determined to change.

When I graduated college I would not have believed that in my lifetime women would gain rights over their own bodies, including the legal right to have an abortion. Or women would become chief executives of major corporations, secretaries of state, contenders for the presidency. Or they’d outnumber men in college.

I would not have imagined that eleven states would allow gays and lesbians to marry, and a majority of Americans would support equal marriage rights.

Or that the nation would have a large and growing black middle class.

It would have seemed beyond possibility that a black man, the child of an interracial couple, would become President of the United States.

I would not have predicted that the rate of college enrollment among Hispanics would exceed that of whites.

Or that more than 80 percent of Americans would have health insurance, most of it through government.

I wouldn’t have foreseen that the Cuyahoga River – the one that used to catch fire regularly – would come to support 44 species of fish. And that over half our rivers and 70 percent of bays and estuaries would become safe for swimming and fishing.

Or that some 200,000 premature deaths and 700,000 cases of chronic bronchitis would have been prevented because the air is cleaner.

Or that the portion of children with elevated levels of lead in their blood would have dropped from 88 percent to just over 4 percent.

I would not have believed our nation capable of so much positive change.

Yet we achieved it. And we have just begun. Widening inequality, a shrinking middle class, global warming, the corruption of our democracy by big money – all of these, and more, must be addressed. To make progress on these — and to prevent ourselves from slipping backwards — will require no less steadfastness, intelligence, and patience than was necessitated before.

The genius of America lies in its resilience and pragmatism. We believe in social progress because we were born into it. It is our national creed.

Which is to say,  I understand your cynicism. It looks pretty hopeless.

But, believe me, it isn’t.

Not if you pitch in.

Cross-posted from Robert Reich’s blog.

Navy Dolphins Find Rare Torpedo Off California Coast

This is dolphin-itely a great find.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Navy dolphins have discovered a Howell torpedo, a rare weapon that was cutting edge technology when it was used in the late 19th century.

Nathan Teklemariam, Carson Rinehart Butt-Dial 911 While Breaking Into Car: Cops

Nathan Teklemariam and Carson Rinehart have been charged with breaking and entering, possession of stolen property and conspiracy.

Two alleged thieves might have gotten away with a stolen car, BUTT one of their cellphones helped cops CRACK the case.