Sunday, February 28, 2010


Another glimpse of the man named Vivian Stanshall, artist, writer, poet, rock musician, actor...the last thing he wanted to be referred to was "eccentric" because he thought the word seemed to infer that he was putting on an act.
This is from one of his last appearances. He died on March 5, 1995 at the age of 52.

Saturday, February 27, 2010


This image was sent in an email from a friend and occasional commentor on this blog, the mysterious SR. These are giant snow feet that were created in the latest snowstorm that crippled the North East US and New York City. New York is suffering from it's heaviest accumalation of snow in decades, it might be one of the snowiest winters on record.
Tonight, I am sitting in my house here in La Sechere with all of the shutters latched tightly shut listening to the ever increasing gale winds battering the hilltop we sit on.

I have a shipment of roofing tiles for the barn sitting out on the lawn to repair the barn roof from the last big storm, almost one year ago. That was a Northern Atlantic version of a Hurricane, a Tempete named Klaus. Klaus destroyed much of the pine forest in Lalande, west of Bordeaux. The forest was just beginning to really recover from the huge storm that occurred in 1999. That storm knocked the power out here for weeks. I was arriving here in France as it hit and landed in Toulouse on a flight from Frankfurt. I flew over the storm and was unaware of the scope and the severity. Actually there were two storms and I read about the first one sitting in the Frankfort airport and the destruction it caused in Paris.

When I arrived in Toulouse, which was untouched by the storm, I tried to take a train to Brive-la-Gaillarde, only to find sheer chaos reigning in the station as all trains going north were cancelled because of damage. I was stuck in Toulouse for 3 exciting days and learned a lot about the city.

That was called the storm of the century. There is still damage visible from that storm. The storm called Klaus was just as bad and came too soon into the next century to be called the storm of the century. Klaus really hammered Toulouse. There have been a number of huge Tempetes in between and tonight looks to be very bad for the regions North of here...

I think I will be lucky this time, but I hope what remains of the back wall of my barn is still standing. That also began to collapse after Klaus. The work is supposed to start any day now, in the classic French tradition, but if there is a lot of regional damage here, the builders we contracted to do the work might be very busy.
We are lucky as well, in light of the tragic earthquake in Chile. The energy of the quake is supposed to have been 500 times as powerful as the Haitian quake, but Chile is a much more developed country in a very sesmically active region and they have strict building codes. Still the damage reports I am beginning to see are horrific. As I write, I am getting reports of the tsunami that might affect most of the Pacific coastline.

Earthquakes are one thing;, they are part of the life of our planet. The phenomena of the weather is another thing all together. The increase in damaging winter Tempetes in Europe and the extreme snowfall in the Northeast US, the increase in the size of the hurricanes in the Carribean and Cyclones in Asia are all manifestations of human induced climate change. Yesterday, an ice shelf the size of Luxembourg detached itself from Antartica and started its journey that will truly affect the planets climate for years to come.

And on Friday, Rush Limbaugh made his pronouncement the Climate Debate was over because the snow in New York proved it. All it proves is the sad fact that Simple Minds Demand Simple Answers.

Vivian Stanshall

Friday, February 26, 2010

Do Not Adjust Your Set

Viv Stanshall, The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band and Michael Palin present,
Tubas In The Moonlight, just for you, covered in sequins.....

Socialized Medicine Part #3,098,621.2

And while we are on the subject of Health Care Reform, what's up with John Boehner and his chain smoking? Could this shill for the American Tobacco Industry even get a health insurance policy on the open market today? He couldn't get a policy anywhere except the free socialized insurance coverage he enjoys as a legislator!
Remember, this was the guy who had to publically apologize for handing out Tobacco Lobby Checks on the floor of the Congress back in 1995.
Anyone know what brand he's smoking and who buys them for him?

They Didn't Let Senator Smith Go Home To Watch Football!

So what is the real deal regarding the time honored Senate Tradition of the Filibuster?
GOP Senator Bunning is filibustering the extension of unemployment benefits, and has so screwed things up that now those benefits will run out on Sunday before this bill can pass.

The thing is, the Democrats aren't making Bunning conduct a "real" filibuster. A real filibuster is just like in the movie "Mr. Smith goes to Washington." A Senator has to sit on the Senate floor forever, continually talking, or else the filibuster is broken and we can move on. But that's not what's happening. The Democrats let Bunning go home last night to get
a good night's rest, and now he's back at it this morning. He had the gall to complain that he missed a few hours of a football game! Even worse, The Democrats have allowed the Senators to call a Quorum. The quorom is a way for Senators, like Bunning, to take a break and still be able to come back and hold their place when they feel like it (it's the legislative equivalent of calling "save!" when a kid gets out of his seat while watching TV). The thing is, Democrats can stop Bunning from saving his seat by simply objecting to the quorom call. Then Bunning would have to keep talking and talking, and not even be allowed a bathroom break unless some other GOP Senator stepped in to help him.

That's what a REAL filibuster is. And they're a real pain in the ass to organize and keep going. I wanna see a filibuster just like in the movies! If I gotta put up with these jerks and the pain they inflict, I wanna see a little pain inlicted!

So why don't the Democrats force the Republicans to mount a real filibuster?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Freedom Of Approved Religions Only

The concept of Religious Freedom, for many only extends to what they percieved as approved religions. Unfortunately, the view that people have of religions that lay outside of their everyday experience is often clouded by myth and sensationalistic distortions.

Evangelical Americas view of Haitian Vodou, it is a case beyond xenophobic fear. All of the myths of popular literature, cinema and culturally blind narratives by travellers are mixed up with their own beliefs in heaven, hell, god and the devil.

Haitian Vodou is an ancient religion. It could be said to date back 10,000 years. It originated in western Africa and specifically with a tribal group called the Fon. But, it is really a synthesis of practices and ideas taken from most of the central African cultures. 

When the Africans were taken by the French slave trade and brought to Haiti to replace the original Carib Arawak Indian population that had died out due to exposure to European disease and slavery, they brought their religion with them. Over the course of the next 300 years, the religion was further synthesized with Christian mythology. We see this same mixture in the other variations of Carribean native religions, like Santeria which is practicved in Cuba and Peurto Rico, Santeria and Vodou have a lot in common. They are basically montheistic, one main god figure, but a host of spirtits or deities which in Vodou are called Ioa. They can have postive or negative attrributes.

Without going into a lengthy description of the religion, there are male priests (houngan) and female priests (mambo). Their main role is healing. The healing is accomplished by a mixture of faith healing and herbal medicine.

Human sacrifice is not now or has ever been a part of Vodou. There are black magicians called "bokor". They are sorcerors outside the mainstream of Vodou and it is from them that the myths of zombies and Vodou Dolls originate. The idea of Vodou Dolls is a concept that runs through out the history of western metaphysics. Practices much like vodou dolls exist in the folk traditions of Europe. I live in rural France and I have actually consulted a magnetic healer to deal with a chronic shoulder pain. I can't explain what happened, but it worked.  I have friends who are reasonably intelligent who consult country "specialists" for psychic assistance. They are advised to perform rituals and the placement of charms to help them. Of course much of their results are psychological, but it only reinforces the real connection between the mind, body and belief.

Vodou is a recognized religion in Haiti and also the official religion in Benin, in West Africa. After the Haitian earthquake, there were ceremonies in Benin for the Haitians.
Haiti is in chaos and turmoil now. It is socially, physically and psychically ripped apart.
Part of the foreign aid that has flooded the country is the invasion of American religious organizations who are using the disaster to reap souls. There have been many, many recorded cases of aid from these groups being based on religious conversion.
I have read many cases of people who have said that they would say anything to get aid and food because it was a matter of pure survival.

The after shocks of the big quake continue on an almost daily basis. Monday saw a 4.7 quake which toppled already weakened structures. The quakes less than 4 are rarely recorded because most of the seismic equipment on the island has been damaged.
As the aftershocks continue, the paroxysms of a traumatized population are being exploited by the religious opportunists. On February 23, a large ceremony was being held in Cite de Soleil for the dead. It was a Vodou ceremony to guide the lost souls and there were thousands in attendance. Urged on by Evangelical Christians, the ceremony was disrupted by stones and destruction of the Vodou altars which were actually urinated on.

What next for Haiti? An enslaved people fight a war for freedom, only to be crippled by massive foreign debt, oppressed by dictators supported by foreign interests, hurricanes, earthquake and now an Evangelical Christian, foreign interest inspired religious war....

Doctors Without Borders  is still on the frontlines  providing medical assistance, they wwere there before the quake and will be there long after. They need you donations and the  button on the side of the blog is till active!

A Troll Moment, Excuse Me...Please Stand By....

This is dedicated to what's your face, because it's all about you and you know it!
Now get lost.......

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Les Grues Se Retournent

There sre two seasonal events that occur in the rythmn of my life here in La Sechere that profoundly affect my moods, my very being, my seasonal psyche...and they both involve perhaps even the same groups of birds.

In November, I begin to hear the cries of the cranes as they fly over in big arcs, wheeling about the sky trying to find the true direction and taking the best tack into the winds as they head south.
The birds are the grues cendrees, or perhaps in English, gray heron. They migrate to Northern Africa in late fall and then return in the spring.

When I hear them in the autumn, I am resigned to the fact that winter is not very far away. I think I am a person who is truly affected by the seasonal change. I love sunlight and sometimes I feel I am solar powered. As winter lags on, I feel my battery drain and I get slower and slower....this winter seemed to go on and on and on and on.....

Then, today, it seems like another rainy late winter day in the Dordogne, except, if I really look, in the right places, primroses are starting to bloom, all of the hazelnut trees are full of catkins...daffodils are beginning to poke up and show buds...the hellebore are all blooming...

Then, dramatically, the sun came out, the temperature rose to about 60 degrees! Thunderstorms darkly rumbled ominously on the horizon across the valley, but I took off with the dog running down the hill in the wildly springlike scented air. As we ran down the hill, I saw that the thunderstoem clouds were headed in our direction!
The ground was spouting water from the mole hills! So we walked throught the forest as the thunder got louder and louder and made our way back up to the top. Then I heard the cry of the grues in the distance. I looked up but the storm clouds were rapidly covering the sky. As we got back to the driveway, I heard the cries louder and louder and right above me was a huge group of 2 V shape flocks which linked up into a huge arc propelled by the storm across the sky!
Spring arrives in the Dordogne...........

Sunday, February 21, 2010

7 Truths To Set You Free.......

Watching the coverage of CPAC, I am struck by the idea that the conservative reactionaries are whip[ping themselves into a frenzy to come after what is left of America's institutional, spiritual and cultural memory. They no longer even attempt to loosely base their rhetoric on any political, economic, social or historical reality. 30 years after Reagan, it is apparent that he did not launch a revolution, he launched a counter revolution.

We are living in an age of media influencing policy and the media is in the hands of those who manipulate the message to influence the masses to work for corporate profits. The conservative corporate counter revolution is packaged as populism which harnesses the angst, fear and rage that the common man feels dealing with the massive monolith of an ever more oppressive reality. How can the supporters of the Tea Party Movement and CPAC be so blind, you ask yourself, that they do not see that the heroes they worship are some of the richest men in the country, who are cynically using them to rtemain that way?
Mitt Romney is worth over $200 Million. Cheney is worth at least $100 Million!

This is why conservative "ant-government" politics and religion can so efficiently feed off of each other. Religion helps the common man deal with the complexities of our universe and existence by replacing questions with blind faith. Radical Conservatism does much the same thing. It replaces truth with a target...and uses the blind faith of the masses as a means to gain power.
The truth, though is power in are 7 truths to set you free:

1. The US healthcare system is not the best in the world.

Despite spending more than twice as much as the rest of the industrialized nations ($8,160 per capita), the United States performs poorly in comparison on major health indicators such as life expectancy, infant mortality and immunization rates. Moreover, the other advanced nations provide comprehensive coverage to their entire populations, while the U.S. leaves 46.3 million completely uninsured and millions more inadequately covered. Single-Payer National Health Insurance, Physicians for a National Healthcare Program

The United States ranks 31st in life expectancy (tied with Kuwait and Chile), according to the latest World Health Organization figures. We rank 37th in infant mortality (partly because of many premature births) and 34th in maternal mortality. A child in the United States is two-and-a-half times as likely to die by age 5 as in Singapore or Sweden, and an American woman is 11 times as likely to die in childbirth as a woman in Ireland.
Canadians live longer than Americans do after kidney transplants and after dialysis, and that may be typical of cross-border differences ...
The figures are even worse for members of minority groups. An African-American in New Orleans has a shorter life expectancy than the average person in Vietnam or Honduras ... Americans take 10 percent fewer drugs than citizens in other countries — but pay 118 percent more per pill that they do take …
Nicholas Kristoff, New York Times, 11-4-09

We need single payer universal healthcare: Medicare for all. You can phase it in with a robust public option and lowering the Medicare enrollment age down to 55, but single-payer, universal coverage has to be the end result.

2. Predatory capitalism is not freedom.

It is not sustainable. It is not compatible with democratic institutions. A market without regulations or controls is not a free market; it deteriorates into suffocating monopolization, and results in the enriching of a few at the expense of the many. It does not treasure or invest in the commons, it does not value the rights of individuals or minorities.

It is said that a near-death experience forces one to reevaluate priorities and values. The global economy has just escaped a near-death experience. The crisis exposed the flaws in the prevailing economic model, but it also exposed flaws in our society. Much has been written about the foolishness of the risks that the financial sector undertook, the devastation that its institutions have brought to the economy, and the fiscal deficits that have resulted. Too little has been written about the underlying moral deficit that has been exposed-a deficit that is larger, and harder to correct ...
We have created a society in which materialism overwhelms moral commitment, in which the rapid growth that we have achieved is not sustainable environmentally or socially, in which we do not act together to address our common needs. Market fundamentalism has eroded any sense of community and has led to rampant exploitation of unwary and unprotected individuals. There has been an erosion of trust-and not just in our financial institutions. It is not too late to close these fissures.
Joseph Stiglitz, Moral Bankruptcy: Why Are We Letting Wall Street Off So Easy?, Mother Jones, 1-13-10

We need to re-instate Glass-Steagal, and supplement it with additional regulations.

3. The Climate Crisis is not a hoax. (Nor, BTW, is Peak Oil a hoax).

This isn't a good old-fashioned winter for the District of Columbia, not unless you're remembering the last ice age. And it doesn't disprove global warming, despite Sen. Jim De Mint's cheerful tweet: "It's going to keep snowing until Al Gore cries 'uncle.' "
Instead, the weird and disruptive weather patterns around the world are pretty much exactly what you'd expect as the planet warms … Looked at dispassionately, those political attacks essentially buttress the consensus around global warming. If that much money and attention can be aimed at the data and all anyone can find is a few mistakes and a collection of nasty e-mails, it's a pretty good sign that the science is sound (though not as good a sign as the melting Arctic). The British newspaper the Guardian just concluded a huge series on the "Climategate" e-mails with the words: "The world is still warming. Humanity is still to blame. And we still, urgently, need to do something about it."
Bill McKibben, Washington's snowstorms, brought to you by global warming, Washington Post, 2-14-10

The USA needs to go green hard and fast. The other great and would-be great nations are racing ahead of us in the development and implementation of wind and solar energy. We need a new smart and green power grid, we need a new green transportation system, we need a national campaign to green existing buildings, and a green mandate for all new buildings, we need to cut back on our consumption of meat, etc. We need to spend a lot of money, fast and wisely; and we need to educate our populace.

4. Corporations are not people.

It is absurd to gift them the rights of the individual.

Human beings are people; corporations are legal fictions. The Supreme Court is misguided in principle, and wrong on the law. In a democracy, the people rule.
We Move to Amend.
We, the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United, and move to amend our Constitution to:
* Firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.
* Guarantee the right to vote and to participate, and to have our votes and participation count.
* Protect local communities, their economies, and democracies against illegitimate "preemption" actions by global, national, and state governments.
Sign the Motion
Move to Amend, Campaign to Legalize Democracy

Disgust with corporate influence is raging. The appearance of Wall Street influence in the Obama administration contributed to an unthinkable result in the Massachusetts Senate race. And the White House dealings with the insurance and drug lobbies during the health care debate have been pilloried on the left and the right.
Now the conservative Supreme Court showed its hand, and shredded our campaign finance laws, leaving our democracy even more vulnerable to special interests.
What better time to raise the stakes.
Put a constitutional amendment on the floor of the House and Senate creating a public campaign finance system banning all private money.
Dare conservatives to side with more corporate influence in our campaigns and our policymaking.
Either conservatives buckle and the amendment is passed.
Or they block it, show their sympathies, and expose their attempts at co-opting the populist fervor to be phony.
There is no better time than now.
Bill Scher, A Constitutional Amendment for Public Campaign Financing: Now Is the Time, Huffington Post, 1-21-10

5. The USA is not a Christian nation.

Consider How Christian were the Founders, NY Times, 2-14-10. Its author, Russell Shorto offers the gullible reader only partial truth, and that is swaddled in a heavily embroidered cloth of pleasantry. Mr. Shorto studiously avoids exploring the oft-stated, well-documented, and clearly NON-CHRISTIAN personal views of the principle founders.

Back in 2003, when a Neo-Confederate Judge in Alabama wanted to place a monument to the Ten Commandments on public property, Thom Hartmann wrote a powerful piece (no, not published in the NY Times, published in the Blogosphere) that intrepidly goes everywhere Mr. Shorto was too timid to go.

Here are two brief excerpts with a link to Thom's full text:

[Ben Franklin] - like most of the more well-known Founders - was a Deist, a philosophy made popular by early Unitarians who held that the Creator made the universe long ago and has since chosen not to interfere in any way, that neither Jesus nor anybody else was divine (or, alternatively, that we are all divine and shall all do as Jesus did and said we would), and that there is only one God and not three.
Another founding Deist who resisted giving political power to those with religious power was George Washington.
On the topic of Washington's religious sentiments, Thomas Jefferson wrote in his personal diary entry for February 1, 1799, "when the clergy addressed General Washington on his departure from the Government, it was observed in their consultation, that he had never, on any occasion, said a word to the public which showed a belief in the Christian religion, and they thought they should so pen their address, as to force him at length to declare publicly whether he was a Christian or not. They did so.
"However," Jefferson noted to his diary, "the old fox was too cunning for them. He answered every article of their address particularly except that, which he passed over without notice ... In later years, Jefferson would put together what is now called "The Jefferson Bible," in which he deleted all the miracles from the New Testament and presented Jesus to readers as an inspired philosopher. His Jefferson Bible is still in print, and well received, if sales and readers' comments are any indication.

Thom Hartmann, The Founders Confront Judge Moore, OpEd News, 2003

6. Religion is not science. Religious myth is not scientific theory.

The problem is not Science vs. Religion. The problem is not Science vs. a particular religion. The problem is Science vs. one specific interpretation of one particular religion and, in general, the problem is an American one ..."What is up with you Americans and evolution?"  This intellectual hamstringing is not happening in China or India or Europe. The nations we are be competing with are not playing these games. The nations we are competing with to shape our own, and the planets, future are not wasting their time in this intellectual vortex. They are moving forward while we stare at our navels and argue over the shape of lint bunnies we find there. Adam Frank, Creationism Vs. Evolution: An American Problem, An American Opportunity, NPR, 2-12-10

7. The torture of prisoners is not a policy option, it is a war crime

"24" is a TV show, the Geneva Accords is established law on this planet (and there is nothing quaint about it).

The brutalization of our culture took a great leap forward from 2001 to 2008, with the Bush-Cheney regime's institution of torture (a.k.a. "enhanced interrogation techniques") as official policy. Unfortunately, despite its repudiation of this abomination, the Obama administration shows no desire (moral or political) to prosecute its chief architects. Nor does the US mainstream news media show any appetite for confronting those who now openly boast of perpetrating what are clearly codified as war crime. (Of course, by not pursuing criminal charges, the Obama administration is giving cover not only to the perpetrators, but to the news media.)

On [ABC’s “This Week”], Cheney pronounced himself “a big supporter of waterboarding,” a near-drowning technique that has been regarded as torture back to the Spanish Inquisition and that has long been treated by U.S. authorities as a serious war crime, such as when Japanese commanders were prosecuted for using it on American prisoners during World War II … That Cheney feels he can operate with such impunity is a damning commentary on the rule of law in the United States, at least when it comes to the nation’s elites. Robert Parry, Cheney Exposes Torture Conspiracy, Consortium News, 2-14-10

Indeed, the two major national newspapers--The New York Times and The Washington Post--characterized Cheney's interview as a mere spat between the vice president and the Obama administration over the direction of the latter's counterterrorism and national security policies. Jason Leopold, Cheney Admits to War Crimes, Media Yawns, Obama Turns the Other Cheek, Truthout, 2-15-10

A special prosecutor needs to be appointed, one with sweeping investigative powers to probe the Bush-Cheney regime, and not just concerning the use of torture.

[And no, I do not give a damn that a Bush-Cheney appointee "cleared" Yoo and Bybee, thereby over-ruling the DoJ investigators who recommended action against them. The only question worth asking about that sad story is why all of the Bush DoJ appointees involved in sensitive or politically tainted investigations were not fired or "resigned" on Day 1 of the Obama administration.]

I am aware that most people who read this blog understand these 7 truths, but as we wage this struggle against the reactionaries' Assault on Reason, and this Republic, it's a great thing to have facts to back up the truth!

Lightning Strikes

Okay, this is another trip on thebrainpolice time machine and you can thank fellow blogger, HISTORYMIKE, for rhe inspiration. This is a video of an American Pop legend, Lou Christie performing what was his biggest chart hit, Lightning Strikes on The 70's TV Show, Midnight Special. Lou probably had performed this song thousands of times and the almost introspective reading of it here is well, almost moving.

Lou was an original, a singer who could effortlessly switch between his "normal" range and an almost superhuman falsetto with a natural elegance...

He was even more interesting because he was a real singer/songwriter.  In many interviews, John Lennon referred to Christie as one of his vocal idols. He had a relationship with a woman who was almost 40 years older than he was who was his spiritual mentor and co writer. His songs about teenage lust and desire pushed the limits of what could be acceptable.  To my ears, Lou Christie was writing music that was outside the definitions of the time he existed in. It sounds better today than it did in 1966. In the case of Lightning Strikes, pure commercial pop pleasure won over the protests of propriety. His next single, Rhapsody In The Rain, went even further, the melody was inspired by Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet, a teenagers regret over a sexual experience in the backseat of a car, while the windshield wipers rhthymicly say, "together, together" which change during the song to regret, saying "never, never"....the brilliant piece of 1966 pop was banned by radio stations all over America.

Christie kept on releasing visionary, unique pop referencing classical themes but disappeared for quite a while working as a ranch hand, off shore oil driller and a carnival barker.

I was recently made aware of the fact he was still alive and has been performing again since 1990, voice and spirit intact. Lugee Sacco, who never wanted the name Lou Christie, possessor of the voice I still try to emulate, the epitome of the white boy falsetto...True American Rebel and True American Original.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


I was working on my "office" remodeling project and I had the magic iPod playing that my friend, Brian gave us. It has his entire music library on it, 30,000+ pieces....
So, it's on shuffle mode and I figure I'll have heard everything in 10 years...?
Then this song came on.....

Friday, February 19, 2010


This was really a twitter from the CPAC convention today, Honestly!

RT @daveweigel: RT @mattklewis: RT @KuhnCNN Overheard at #CPAC10 by a college aged girl: "do you think Reagan is going to talk soon?

A Techie Question From An Idiot

I have a question. I am basically computer ignorant. All I know is practically through osmosis, except for Photoshop....
I have a senile first generation imac. This machine has served me well for over 10 years, but it has it's limitations. I am going to upgrade, but for the time being, it is out of the question.
I am running it with as much memory as I can squeeze into it and with the help of a friend, I am running Mac OSX.3.9. I keep getting notified by web sites I visit that I have to upgrade my browser. Most recently, and alarmingly, YouTube gives me messages that soon my browser will not be supported. I have Safari and Firefox and I have preferred Firefox for years. The problem is to upgrade to the browser that they recommend, I have to have a newer operating system. 
To install Mac OSX into this computer, I had to partition the hard drive and I can't really upgrade it. So, I think that Opera 10.10, which is one of the recommended browsers for YouTube will work with Mac OS10.3.9. 
I downloaded a version of Opera10.10 for Mac OS, but I haven't tried to install it yet. Has anyone out there had any experience with Opera? It looks pretty cool and has a lot of features. I am sure that no one has had the problem that I am having now but any insight or advice will be greatly appreciated.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Super Dick

Over the weekend, Dick Cheney finally admitted he was immortal and had super powers.
The former vice president admitted he was a "big supporter" of the Bush administration's use of torture on suspected terrorists.
Many legal experts, including one time Nixon White House Legal Expert, John Dean, seem to concur that Cheney's admission was an acknowlegement of his complicity in a war crime.
Dean said that Cheney merely "admitted to torture, which was once a war crime" Dean cynically continued, "I'm not sure after the Bush Administration lawyers got finished with it that it was."
What is does make clear is that Cheney obviously has no fear of prosecution for his admission and is certainly throwing fuel on the fire as a cynical political act.
Stay tuned for Super Cheney's next TV appearance when he will again astound us with his magic defillibrator.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Audacity Of Hypocrisy

On Monday, Republican Governor Pawlenty of Minnesota, revealed his budget for 2010.
He proposes to cut $250 million from aid to cities and counties and 347 million from Health and Human Services programs. He is lowering taxes for businesses.
The most interesting feature of Pawlenty's budget is the fact that over 1/3 of the money is Federal Stimulus Funds. The money made available by the Stimulus act that Pawlenty has made a career out of opposing.
He's not alone. After Voting To Kill Recovery, 110 GOP Lawmakers tout its success and ask for more money

Sen. Kit Bond Today marks the one year anniversary of President Obama signing into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, better known as the stimulus. As the economy continued to crater after President Bush left office, Obama’s stimulus sought to provide tax cuts for 95% of working Americans, funds to buoy cash-strapped state governments, new construction and infrastructure projects, and other programs to create jobs, retrain workers, and promote economic activity throughout the country. In December, the Congressional Budget Office reported that the stimulus had successfully created up to 1.6 million jobs, and today, a report shows the Recovery Act will ultimately create 2.5 million jobs. Even the conservative American Enterprise Institute found that the stimulus had boosted the U.S. economy by 4 percent.

One year after the Stimulus went into effect, one year after it was passed inspite of the Republicans opposing it en mass, in spite of the fact that it probably wasn't big enough because of their oppositon, the stimulus has had its desired effect. The Party of No has tried to hide it and take credit for it and deflect the cause of the economic meltdown that made the Stimulus neccessary. The Audacity of Hypocrisy....

Individually, over half of the entire Republican caucus has hailed nearly every aspect of the stimulus as a success — from infrastructure funds, to food programs, to education grants. But politically, admitting its success might harm the GOP’s chances in November. So with Republicans fixated on winning politically, they have focused on deceiving the public by calling the stimulus a failure, while pretending successful programs aren’t stimulus funded.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I love chromatic harmonica. I have played harmonica for years and have had cheap Chinese chromatics, but recently, I had a chance to buy an incredible Larry Adler Signature Model Hohner, which is a serious instrument.
I saw this piece today and it knocked me out. This is the Polar Awards in Stockholm in 2007 with a performance by the Belgian Chromatic Harmonica Master, Toots Theilman and his 1962 composition, Bluesette.
Halfway through, Theilman is joined by an American Chromatic Harmonica master, Stevie Wonder. The duet is telegraphed about 1:22 into the piece when Theilman quotes Isn't She Lovely. I think that tomorrow, I'm gonna drive the cows crazy!

Monday, February 15, 2010

That Song Is A Pop Music Footnote!

R.I.P. Doug Fieger. That song might have driven you crazly in 1980 and maybe to many people, Doug Fieger was a one hit wonder, but he was a hell of a great guy from Southfield, Michigan and made a lot of great music with a lot of people. I remember his 1970 band, Sky...
My Sharona, the riff that destroyed the Earth!

Metal Tiger Dragon

In my last post, I mentioned that I fell in the creek yesterday. It was pretty hilarious actually. I was with the dog in the forest and we decided to cross the rain swollen creek over a log, which I had done quite a few times before. The dog knows the routine. It took a while when he was little to convince him to walk over the creek on a log, but now he does it with out hesitation. I, of course, hesistate. Yesterday, the log gave way and I ended up in the water. At least my head was above water. The funny thing was that the dog jumped in...I'm not sure if he thought it was a game, or if he was concerned.

He seems to be waterproof, I'm not. It was about 26 degrees and 3/4 kilometer back up through the forest, so I was frozen when I get back.

Yesterday was Chinese New Years and Valentines Day! We had our Chinese New Year kit for our nephew in Bangkok. So we followed the instructions carefully. We had long noodles for dinner with the New years decorations and lit the lucky candles. After dinner, we burnt 50 billion dollars worth of lucky New Years Money in the fireplace.
All of this is important for long life and wealth!

2010, Year of the Metal Tiger...very dangerous, but my sign is the Tiger and with the dragon, astrologers say I am ready for anything...My New years day Hike proved it. 
The cake was not a part of a traditional Chinese New Year dinner, that was the Valentines Day part....

Take A Good Look 3/3

Part 3 of take A Good Look...It gets really silly!
I had a pretty silly afternoon in the forest. I was crossing the creek on a log and ended up in the creek. I got soaked and it was below freezing! My dog thought it was pretty funny. It was a almost a kilometer walk home. So, I'm going to bed early tonight.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Take A Good Look 2/3

Indulge me, okay? Here's part 2 of the 1955 Game Show by Ernie Kovacs, Take A Good Look. Oh, it all makes perfect sense, doesn't it? Whistlers Mother on a motorcycle, Percy's suicide note, now the accidental poisoning of a formic football team...and a clip from the original Dead End Kids to boot and romance among the tobacco leaves...I can't wait for part 3.


Happy Lunar New Year! 
Year Of The Tiger! 
2010 My Year!

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Republican New Hampshire State Rep. Nancy Elliott has just become a blog superstar in because of this snippet posted on Feb 9 on YouTube for all the wrong reasons.
In her fanatical opposition to New Hampshires Gay Marriage Law, she hysterically outright lies in her hate fueled opposition.
In her statements, she claimes that grade school children are being subjected to lessons about gay anal sex techniques.

She even went so far as to level such an allegation during a recent hearing on a bill to repeal the state's marriage equality law, much to the confusion of school officials who vehemently denied her claims.

"I heard yesterday from a mother that in fifth grade in Nashua, they were given as part of their classroom instruction naked pictures of two men showing a presentation of anal sex," she said during a recent session, according to New Hampshire newspaper The Nashua Telegraph.

"This is directly related to the bill," she continued. "Because we have made a marriage of same sex, they are now teaching it in public school. They are showing our fifth-graders how they can actually perform this kind of sex and they are condoning, they are saying this is normal and this is something that you may want to try."
Her full quote went like this:

And so, you know I started thinking, and we're talking about taking the penis of one man and putting into the rectum of another man, and wiggling it around in excrement. And I have to think, I'm not sure, would I allow that to be done to me? All of us, that could happen to you. Would you let the happen to you?"

Now, I really don't believe for a second that Elliott believes a word of what she is saying in regard to school children and anal sex. She isn't stupid, but she is a vicious hate filled manipulative liar.

This is the kind of hyperbolic over the edge, down right nasty, outright imflammatory lying technique that is commonly employed by the Party Of No to influence their weak minded constituents.
Just like Glenn Beck has admitted: He does not believe the garbage he spouts. Like the people directing the climate change denial, like the teabag leaders who are using the "birther" controversyand have convinced their flock that they are paying more taxes ins pite of the fact that in reaity, their taxes have been cut. They are lying and they know it. The bigger the lie, the more they can use the logic and the decency of their opposition as a weapon against them. The denial of a lie becomes the fuel that keeps it alive.

There is an organization which tries to do the work that an responsible society should be doing 24 hours everyday...It's a lonely job , but MediaMatters does it. Relentlessly fact checking a media out of control in our amnesiac flabby world. Support them, because they support you.

Take A Good Look #1

I have often said, that if there was one other person I would have liked to have been, it would be Ernie Kovacs. This is the first of three parts of one of the episodes of his short lived TV Game Show, Take A Good Look. Ad libbed brilliance, the cutting edge of surrealist video technology...The Dutch Masters commercial is incredible. The smoke, if you didn't guess is milk, which Kovacs keeps in his mouth while the commercial is shot under water....Hans Konried? Cesar Romero? Edie Adams?...sometimes I think I was born 20 years too late.

Just One Of Those Frickin Days....

It just felt like the right thing to do....... 

Police have arrested a man for smashing 29 televisions at a Georgia Wal-mMrt. Authorities say the man grabbed a metal baseball bat from the sporting goods section before walking to the electronics aisle where he started swinging. (Feb. 11)

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Bastard Song

It's another French Music Friday as I try to prove that there actually is great new music in France, though sometimes you really have to look for it.
Here's Skip The Use, Live in Lille performing The Bastard Song. This is high energy post punk. The singer, who goes by the name of Matt Bastard is a non stop machine on stage. The core of the band has been performing for 10 years and 2 years as Skip The Use. Pure post punk rock with an electronic edge, great songs...They actually perform music in French, but it's wild to hear Matt enunciating with an english accent....

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Freedom To Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

So what is normal behavior in an American Airport these days? I spend too much time in American Airports and if you asked me, I would have to say that wandering around in an XXX Large Tee Shirt, baggy shorts from one junk food eatery to another trying to gain another 5 pounds between flights would look pretty normal to me.

I have become very good at just not being there, if you know what I mean. They wanna look at my bags, no problem. Some fat woman TSA Cop wants to look in my pants? No Problem. They wanna use some kind of sensor to detect explosives? No Problem. What ever they want, I smile...
No Problem...because frankly, I have learned to just not be there...
Because, these people are just a little crazy and people who are a little crazy with too much power can be very dangerous.

Take the case of Nicholas George, a student on his way to Pomona College in Southern California to start his senior year. Nicholas was boarding a plane in Philadelphia on August 29, 2009 when the TSA officials pulled him out of line for extra screening.
They told him to empty his pockets, and in his pockets were a set of English/Arabic language flashcards which he used as a Middle-Eastern Studies Major. He has been studying Arabic for the last 3 years.

Thus a nightmare for Nicholas. He was questioned in hostile manner about 9/11 and asked if he knew what language Osama Bin Laden spoke. He reacted with sarcasm and was put in isolation until a Philly police officr showed up who handcuffed him and took him into custody with out reading him his rights or informing him if he was under arrest.

He was kept in a cell for hours with handcuffs on until FBI agents arrived who never informed him of his legal status. Instead when he asked why he was being held, they called him a fucking idiot and began to question him about his political beliefs, travel history, religion and education. After a few hours of realizing they were getting nowhere, he was released. His plane had long since departed.

Mr. George has just filed suit against the TSA, The Philadelphia Police Force and the FBI for the violation of his First and Fourth Amendment Constitutional Rights with the assistance of the ACLU. The entire line of the TSA is that he was in possession of the Arabic/English language cards and that was "very suspicious".

One of the big admitted logistical problems in the so called fight against terror is that there aren't enough Arabic speaking Americans to do translation work. Arabic is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. I'd say this was a small victory for the terrorists, but there are small victories like this every day. Little victories have a way of adding up.  We give up our freedom and rights to live a normal life bit by bit every day out of fear and IGNORANCE!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010


The Schmenge Brothers remind us all how important it is to register to vote.
Now, back to our regularly scheduled program, The Happy Wanderers featuring the Schmenge Brothers, with tonights guest, Links Mynsk
Perhaps it was the oral surgery today...

Monday, February 08, 2010

Vilifying Your Right To Vilify?

The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act  is being challenged in a lawsuit filed by American Family Association of Michigan, which is a Christian Political Activist Group and Filed by the Thomas More Law Center -- which bills itself as the religious answer to the American Civil Liberties Union -- the complaint claims that protecting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people "is an effort to eradicate religious beliefs opposing the homosexual agenda from the marketplace of ideas by demonizing, vilifying, and criminalizing such beliefs as a matter of federal law and policy."
So, let me try to understand. They think the bill discriminates against their beliefs by forbidding them to demonize, vilify and criminalize and hate who they please? I am trying to see the logic here or the legal basis with out it turning into a Mobius strip of impossible legal geometry. The American Family Association of Michigan has actually claimed that this bill is an attempt to "erradicate" their religious beliefs!
But then again, most really good religions aren't worth their salt if they can't get a good hate on once in a while!

Uganda Death March

The National Prayer Breakfast has become a tradition. The first one was in 1953. Presidents have attended as part of the "show and tell"...making a show of professing Chrisitan values under the approved auspices of the sponsor group, a group which has preferred to remain in the shadows, The Family.

Because of the controversy surrounding members of The Family and their involvement in the desecularization of the government of Uganda, they are beginning to find it hard to remain as shadowy puppet masters.
Rick Warren was recently spotlighted as a Family member and was forced under pressure to  denounce the proposed Anti Homosexual Death Penalty legislation now being considered in Uganda.

Barack Obama became the latest in an unbroken line of American Presidents to attend The Annual National Prayer Breakfast last Thursday. He was under pressure from many liberal groups to not attend as a protest to the Ugandan legislation.
For better or worse, because he could have broken the tradition and changed, he went. To his credit, though, he used the occasion to confront the members and call out the Ugandan laws as odious. In reporting the event, the media omitted almost any mention of The Family. The Washington Post only in passing but the New York Times to their credit, did a very nice piece which gave some background and explained the groups involvement in Uganda.

People are beginning to be outraged by the proposed Ugandan laws. The conservatives excuse them, saying that it only covers child molesters and persons convicted of spreading HIV. Others excuse the laws saying that they woud only cover those convicted of having gay sex "more than once". But the facts are much worse than that.   Here are two examples of people who could be put to death:
  • Someone who has gay sex once and doesn’t turn his partner in to the authorities.
  • A straight person who doesn’t turn in a gay friend after hearing about about a couple romantic evenings.
You don’t have be gay to be executed under this bill. Here’s how easily the government could put you to death:
  1. The death penalty applies to anyone convicted of “aggravated homosexuality.”
  2. Aggravated homosexuality includes all “serial offenders.”
  3. A serial offender is “a person who has previous convictions of the offence of homosexuality or related offences.”
  4. Related offences (Part III of the bill) include not ratting out your gay friends (if you are a person of religious, political, economic, or social [!] authority).
Here it is as a diagram:
It’s a two-strikes-and-you’re-dead bill.  And if you dig into the logic, merely keeping silent about someone who’s keeping silent is enough to count as a strike.
Read the bill. It’s much worse than we’re being told. 

Sunday, February 07, 2010

The 59 Sound

So here's a generational thing from New Jersey live on stage....
I decided a few months ago that I really liked the New Brunswick band, The Gaslight Anthem. I think they make big muscular punky political populist rock and they keep getting better. This piece is called The 59 Sound from their 2008 release of the same name on Side One Dummy Records.
They obviously have a big fan in fellow Jerseyite, Bruce Springsteen who has joined them on stage a number of times and Brian Fallon, the singer has appeared with Bruce. This is from the Glastonbury Festival last June 28.
Look for their 2010 release, American Slang out this June. If you get chance, check out their recording of God's Gonna Cut You Down on the 2008 Johnny Cash Tribute Recording, All Aboard! A Tribute To Johnny Cash.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

"Trust me, after taxes, a million dollars is not a lot of money"
Chairman Michael Steele, Febuary 5, 2010


Mavis Staples, who was there on the frontlines in Mississippi in the 60's tells us why we will never turn back. If the Republican Party wants to openly associate itself with blatant revisionist ignorant fear driven racism as a tool of political manipulation, we can only pray that they have opened the gates to their self destruction.
Why do social movements succeed? Why have Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales succeeded in galvanizing the popular base of their countries? Because their movements have risen from the bottom up. They represent the traditionally oppressed masses of their countries and have radically dealt with the inequalities and injustice. Why is Barack Obama a phenomena that has risen from outside the traditional hierarchy of the American political system? There is a common denominator.
60 years after the Civil Rights movement, there has been change, but the change has not addressed the root and the cause of the problem and certainly has not realistically offered profound solutions.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Battle Lines Being Drawn

"If a person charged with treason denies his guilt, how many persons must testify against him before he can be convicted?"
"If a president does not wish to sign a bill, how many days is he allowed in which to return it to Congress for consideration?"
"If the United States wishes to purchase land for an arsenal and have exclusive legislative authority over it, consent is required from [fill in the blank]."
Could you answer these questions if they were asked on a literacy test which was a requirement to obtain the right to vote? These questions were on an Alabaman Voting literacy test used between 1964 and 65. There were over 100 tests which could be used at the discrepancy of the panel and use the evidence that if you missed even one question, you could be denied the right to vote. If you were black and got every answer correct, the panel could still decide you were unqualified. Of course the panel also had the ability to ignore your mistakes, but this only happened if you were the right race or nationality.
In fact, whites rarely if ever had to take the test. You can download a pre Voting Rights Alabama literacy test in PDF form here and take the test yourself.

This is essentially what Tom Tancredo, the former California Republican representative and ex presidential candidate called for in his kick off speech of the National Tea Party Convention in Nashville yesterday.
Tancredo ripped into John McCain, "the cult of multiculturalism" and the President, referring to him repeatedly as Barack Hussein Obama, a committed socialist ideologue, stating that he was elected because "we do not have a civics, literacy test before people can vote in this country."

The Republicans are scrambling to assure themselves that The Tea Partiers are not the beginning of a splinter party. In fact Rush Limbaugh gave the marching orders yesterday, stating that it wasn't going to happen.

He probably is right, the Republicans are well on their way to embracing the retro racism that has empowered this fear driven populist movement.

Today,The NAACP released its annual report card looking at how federal lawmakers voted on civil rights issues, such as hate crimes, D.C. voting rights, and expanding children’s health insurance. Here is a look at some of the main points from the report:
– All Senate Republicans got an F but two (Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, Maine — they got C’s)
– All Senate Democrats and Independents got A’s, B’s or Incompletes
– Senator Arlen Specter, R-to-D-Penn., got a B
– All House Republicans but 6 got an F — 5 of those 6 got D’s — 1 got a C: Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida.
– House Republicans scored the lowest of an sub group.
– All BUT 23 House Democrats got A’s, B’s or Incompletes
– All Congressman who scored a 100% were Democrats
– Of the CBC Members ALL but 2 got A’s, Rep. Artur Davis, D-Ala., who is moderating his stances in prep for a gubernatorial run, got a B.

Raid The Radio

Here's a subversive little riff that will worm its way into your cerebral cortex...
The band is General Elektrik and this is the studio cut of Raid The Radio from their latest release, Good City For Dreaming.

In person this is the ultimate keyboard experience. Herve "RV" Saters is a consumate master and brings his sense of wild style and retro Dance to life with his clavichords and mini moogs, even using vibraharp to enhance the 70's funk/techno fusion. These guys do it right and have the credentials. Saters has played with Femi Kuti (the son of the Nigerian legend, Fela) and Blackalicious and now General Elektrik. I saw them last night and I am a convert.  Saters is a performer that you have to see live! How can any human dance so crazy and play so brilliantly at the same time?

The band is French, but they formed in the USA. Saters lived in Seattle and Berkely. Again this is music that had to go outside of the French Music Mafia to exist. They do perform a few pieces in French, but most of the lyrics are aimed at the intelligent anglo market. There is a piece that weds Gainsbourgh to Grandmaster Flash....
I must admit, they got it all right. 70's funk clavichords, hilarious moog humor, critically accurate technique with a deadly pure pop target used with wild abandon, samples....vibraharp, a really great bassist and guitarist and a drummer who knows when to use tympanis!
Check out their web page to see their latest news and get more info!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

A Pot Of Rancid Tea

 I just recieved a slew of links in response to my post, TEA PIRATES!
Great informative stuff thta backs up the info in my post and goes even further!

All About Odom:

Anatomy of the Tea Party:
(links to different stories at the bottom)

Tea Party Plans 2010 Caucus:

Tea Party, GOP Co-Opt Each Other

Tea Party Strike Led By GOP Strategist, Mortgage Lender

Tea Partiers Mobilize to Steal Kennedy's Seat

Tea Party Convention Loses Main Sponsor

Wednesday, February 03, 2010


I was in a band that covered this song in 1981. I learned it from a drummer from Florida who had a tape of his band called the Slutboys. I thought it was such a cool song and sang it all day and all night for weeks. I never knew who wrote it until I found out about The Sonics. A band from the early 60's from Tacoma, Washington that played some of the rawest punkiest stuff that will continue to influence the greasy little punks of generations to come. This song is one of the classiest classless classics of all time! 

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The Tea Pirates

In a rather short time, a small group of ruthless political entrepreneurs have been able to exploit the economic anxieties, anger, distrust and  legitimate fears of many struggling Americans in an organized profit making operation network that has trademarked itself as The Tea Party Movement.

Lobbyists and corporate front groups, operatives and profiteers, many of whom are experienced public relations professionals have rapidly been able to set up a sophisticated social networking portals and online solutions to control the information with in this "movement". Ostensibly as "gatekeepers" to these supposedly open forums, they have been able to control the flow of information, set out the agenda and give "marching orders".
These Tea Party Profiteers are making millions cashing in on the movement by selling Tea party support to candidates and policies which continue the legacy of Bush era unregulated capitalism and corporate bailouts.
Here's a capsulated who's who of the players:

Eric Odom, a regular on FOX News as a spokesperson for the movement is at the center of the profiteering. He controls dozens of websites and possibly hundreds of forums through "Ning" technology  based social networking. He controls two for profit consulting  companies: American Liberty Alliance and Strategy Activism, LLC. In a self promotional video on YouTube, Odom explains how he has developed stealth type marketing and attack web sites.

Alan Fuller: The partner of Odom in his Strategic Activism, LLC., he also has a firm called Flat Creek Public Affairs. Flat Creek has several Republican Congressmen as clients as well as the current candidate for the Colorado Senate, Jane Norton. Fuller corrals tea party support for American Majority, a Republican training organization.

Glenn Beck, the most powerful promoter of the tea parties in the media promotes gold during his shows as the only way to hedge against the coming economic disaster he fortells. He never mentions that gold compaies are his primary sponsors, or that the gold companies he promotes, like Goldline, have predatory fees, selling gold for 35 to 40% more than its market value. He cemented hishold over the tea parties by launching his own 9.12 project network of social networking sites, which of course are hosted by his profitable media compay, Mercury Radio Arts.

Tea Party Nation is a for-profit business which is the organizer of the  upccoming Tea Party Convention at the Swank Opryland Gaylord Hotel in Nashville. The conventions "grassroots" ticket price is $550 per person and sells silver tea party jewelry and is able to offer Sarah Palin $120,000 to speak. They also have a social networking board.

Dick Armey who has a long history of organizing conservative grassroot causes in support of his corporate clients. He presets himself as an ideologue with his "non profit" Freedom Works. He rails against the Wall Street bailout and government efforts to rebuild the economy, but his own lobbying firm represented AIG, Lehman Bros and Merril Lynch during the bailouts. His "non profit" organization still pays him a lobbyist salary of $550,000 a year. 

:Tea Party Express The Tea Party Express bus tour, and affiliated political action committee, has raised funds using tea party messages. The Tea Party Express effort has been a slick public relations gimmick of the Sacramento-based consulting firm Russo, Marsh and Rogers (RMR). RMR has worked on several stealth campaigns for Republican clients, including the underhanded push to recall Gov. Gray Davis (D-CA). In any case, the Tea Party Express, which RMR staffers operate, has proved to be a cash cow for RMR — in 2009 alone, it plunged at least $1,025,559 of money it raised back into RMR.
The profiteers say that the original American revolutionaries cast their tea into the Boston harbor as a simple rejection of taxation, so the modern tea party movement should similarly reject increased financial regulations, health reform, and taxes on the rich. But the history tells a different story. Boston revolutionaries rejected subservience to the East India Company, a British-run international corporation. They cast the tea into the harbor as a symbolic message to say that their taxes should go back into the American community, not subsidizing the profits of London elites and foreign corporations. Now, Republican tea party profiteers are trying to exploit the movement, pushing them to oppose policies which would actually liberate the middle class and crack down on international corporations. Despite the populist rhetoric, the profiteers see the tea party movement as a pool to extract fundraising dollars and volunteers for Republican campaigns. Indeed, RNC Chairman Michael Steele, himself a former lobbyist, has said that he has an “expectation” that tea partiers loyally tow the Republican line.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Amphioctopus marginatus

On a few other blogs, I get into discussions about evolution and natural history in general. I found this video today and found it fascinating. In this footage shot by Dr. Julien Finn of Museum Victoria, we see a little veined octopus, Amphioctopus marginatus, pick up and carry two halves of a coconut shell across the ocean floor. Startled, she drops the shell halves and dives inside.

You have to ask yourself, "Just how smart are cephalopods anyway?"
I have always been fascinated by octopi and the tales of how cunning they are when confronted with problems, like how to get a yummy lobster out of a corked glass problem, the octopus figures it out in a few seconds.

One of the most highly evolved creatures on the planet, octopi are camoflague experts, able to change colors and mimic background textures and ultimate shape shifters. They even have a built in smoke screen for fast get aways.
It's hard to relate to the intelligence of an alien invertebrate specie, but now animal behaviorists are claiming that the intelligence of an octopus might just rival a dog. They recognize individuals and even engage in play and curiosity behaviors.

Here we see an octopus engaged in tool use. Another example is the defensive walls they build out of stacked rocks in front of their lairs. The urban myth of the octopus who breaks out of its tank in an aquarium at night, slithers across the floor to another one and devours the inhabitants in a midnight buffet, then slinks back to its tank before the aquarium opens the next morning is true.

The limitations of octopus intelligence and evolution are very real. They represent a "dead end". Their reproductive strategy puts all of their energy in reproducing. The females lay many eggs in their lairs and spend a lot of energy defending them. Their copper rather than iron based blood is also another dead end. which limits the development of larger brains.
An octopus lives for three years. Maybe we are very lucky they don't live longer.