He was a year younger than me, but we were both in the Class of ’64 at Tabor. Harold was my best friend and in the summers, when I worked on Cape Cod at the Candle Factory doing tours, Harold, who lived close by in Hyannis, had the home I hung out in.
Harry and Billy… that was how everyone knew us… wandered the Cape, went to drive-in movies, chased girls and hung out at his family’s private chunk of Craigville Beach. Even when I went off to college in Illinois and Harold went off, too, we would get back together in the summer.
Harold was the kind of friend you didn’t have to see in years and yet nothing changed. You don’t get many like that.
He spent the last couple of years fighting pancreatic cancer… in and out o9f hospitals and with the caring support of his wife, Monica, and his daughter, Caroline, who came in from California to be with her Dad. Caroline, a television writer of talent, has been keeping everyone informed about Harold and his condition.
Now he has died at age 65 and I shall miss him. What awful news to get from Monica this morning as I packed for Georgetown Hospital.
He had been receiving treatment for two years for cancer and lived in recent years in Petrolia, Calif. He was known for an acidic pen that spared few on either the left or right for hypocritical or corrupt policies.
His last column in The Nation covered the “culture of rabid criminality” in the international banking system. He predicted that even reform and tough enforcement wouldn’t save it from eventual collapse.
“He was an extraordinarily provocative, polemical, elegant columnist and writer. And he certainly was someone who never wavered in dissenting from what was the conventional line.”
- Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation.
Cockburn was born in Scotland in 1941 and raised in Ireland, the son of the British novelist and Communist Claud Cockburn. In the 1970s and 80s he wrote for the Village Voice, but was fired for taking a $10,000 grant from the Institute of Arab Studies to write a book about Israel’s invasion of Lebanon. He also had a column for a time in the Wall Street Journal.
While writing for The Nation he became known for his battles in print with fellow columnist Christopher Hitchens. He co-founded CounterPunch on line with St. Clair in 1996.
- Alexander Cockburn throws a spitball at Occupy – and misses (louisproyect.wordpress.com)
- U.S. Today Display Typical Fascist Characteristics (veteranstoday.com)
- Kick It Out! (counterpunch.org)
- “When Half a Million Americans Died and Nobody Noticed” (theamericanconservative.com)
- The Drone Killer and the State of the Empire (counterpunch.org)
- Committed Leftist Thinks Obama is a “Psychopathic Megalomaniac” ?! (bokertov.typepad.com)
Michigan state Rep. Lisa Brown (D) — who was banned from speaking on the House floor for saying “vagina” — led a reading of the play, The Vagina Monologues, at the Michigan state Capitol last night, the Detroit Free Press reports.
Eve Ensler, who wrote the play, agreed to fly in from California to oversee the performance: “I’m over dudes who can’t even say ‘vagina.’ I’m over the Michigan state Legislature… censoring and rebuking and removing Lisa Brown. My vagina’s got decorum.”
Thanks To Taegan Goddard.
- Lawmaker Performs “Vagina Monologues” at State House (politicalwire.com)
- VIDEO: ‘Vagina Monologues’ Creator Rebukes Michigan GOP Leaders For Silencing Women (thinkprogress.org)
- Eve Ensler and The Vagina Monologues Have Been Summoned to Lansing by Lisa Brown’s ‘Vagina’ Incantation [Vagina Monologues] (jezebel.com)
- Silenced Michigan Dem performs ‘Vagina Monologues’ on capitol steps (rawstory.com)
- Michigan Democrats Perform “Vagina Monologues” (unaskedadvice.wordpress.com)
- Legislators And Eve Ensler To Perform ‘The Vagina Monologues’ On Michigan Capitol Steps (towleroad.com)
- Easily offended Michigan Republicans about to get Vagina Monologued (dailykos.com)
- Michigan women lawmakers to perform ‘Vagina Monologues’ at state capitol (rawstory.com)
“When Mitt Romney was a college freshman, he told fellow residents of his Stanford University dormitory that he sometimes disguised himself as a police officer — a crime in many states, including Michigan and California, where he then lived. And he had the uniform on display as proof.”
“Other eyewitnesses have previously recalled Romney’s alleged use of a police or trooper uniform in pranks during his high school years at the exclusive Cranbrook School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.”
- Joe Conason
So it looks like he has always had a fascination with authority.
- Mitt Romney Impersonated a Policeman and Stopped Drivers (littlegreenfootballs.com)
- Did Mean Mitt Bully Strangers? (mittismean.org)
- Romney impersonated a police officer (dailykos.com)
- Romney “longed” to serve in Vietnam, but took four draft deferments (skydancingblog.com)
- Classmate of Romney, Obama recalls both men (thegrio.com)
- Lawrence O’Donnell Breaks New Mitt Romney Scandal: He Maybe Had A Police Uniform? (mediaite.com)
Mitt Romney supports Meg Whitman in the California gubernatorial race against Jerry Brown. Unfortunately for him it comes at a really bad time when he is trying to convince voters that he is a “job creator” - something he has never really been.
From Stephen D. Foster, Jr. at AddictingInfo.org:
In an interview with the National Review published on Thursday, Mitt Romney said he wished Whitman were the Governor of California instead of Jerry Brown, whom Romney insisted was doing things wrong. Romney praised Whitman as an economic guru, telling the Review, “I wish Californians had elected Meg Whitman. She would have been more successful and explained to Californians the need to cut back on spending and eliminate unnecessary programs.”
Romney’s praise for Whitman couldn’t have come at more inopportune time, as The New York Times reported on the same day that Whitman intends to eliminate 30,000 American jobs mostly through layoffs and forcing workers into early retirement. Even though Hewlett-Packard made a staggering $7.1 billion profit in 2011, Whitman is cutting these jobs in America while leaving Hewlett-Packard jobs intact in China and elsewhere.
If spending is eliminated on average workers who helped H.P. make a whopping profit this past year, then it is hard to imagine that the issue on economic cuts is a primarily false one.
Romney is praising Whitman as an economic miracle worker at the same time she is destroying jobs at her company… but not cutting the export of these American jobs to China.Why is he not criticizing Whitman rather than supporting her?
- Mitt Romney praises Meg Whitman as she prepares to lay off 30,000 workers (dailykos.com)
- Whitman’s lesson for Romney – Unemployment – Salon.com (mbcalyn.com)
- Hewlett-Packard to Layoff 30,000 Workers (doctoramarthacastro.wordpress.com)
- Meg Whitman’s Big Hewlett Packard Move: Firing 30,000 Workers (inquisitr.com)
- HP to axe 30k jobs (boingboing.net)
- Meg Whitman To Host Romney Fundraiser In Redwood City (sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com)
Volunteers across California are making history. On May 2nd, the California Right to Know campaign turned in nearly 1 million signatures to place a ballot initiative to label GMOs on the November 2012 ballot.
But this is only the beginning. We know that Monsanto and their minions will do everything in their power to spread lies and confuse voters. They have proven this time and again and most recently in Vermont and Connecticut where citizens in those states overwhelmingly supported bills to require labeling of genetically engineered foods.
Only a few days after voters in California qualified the historic initiative to label GMOs, Monsanto and biotech lobbyists were working behind closed doors in Connecticut to kill the bill that would have made it possible for the residents in that state to know what’s in their food.1 In the final hours of the 2012 legislative session, the biotech industry succeeded in getting Connecticut’s governor and House leaders to strip the bill of its labeling requirement as it was on the verge of passing with bipartisan support. Now, this year alone, governors in Vermont and Connecticut have both caved under the biotech industry’s threats to sue them if they pass a bill to label GMOs. This is an outrage!
While these backroom shenanigans can’t happen in California, since the ballot initiative will be put to a vote of the people, we know that Monsanto’s minions will be up to their usual dirty tricks. Already, a powerful biotech front group is starting to spread misleading stories in the media and distorting the real facts about the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act of 2012.
This has been called “the Food Fight of Our Life” and we need your help in making sure that we succeed in November.
Will you chip in to make GMO labeling a reality? Only with your help can we win in November!
We can win in California, but we need your help today! Here’s how. Between May 1 and May 26, a broad coalition of food, farm, health, public interest, and environmental groups all over the country, joined by leading organic food companies, will attempt to raise one million dollars to support the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act, a citizens’ ballot initiative, and other state GMO-labeling campaigns.
In an extraordinary gesture of support and solidarity in the fight for GMO labeling in California, Mercola.com, the largest alternative health website in the world, along with a group of leading organic companies including Nature’s Path, Lundberg Family Farms, and Eden Foods, and other nonprofit organizations, have pledged another one million dollars to the “Drop the Money Bomb on Monsanto” campaign – but only if we reach our goal of $1 million by May 26.
Please help us raise $1 million by May 26 for the California Right to Know GMO Labeling Campaign so we don’t miss out on this $1 million matching gift!
Thank you for contributing what you can today – Together we can win!
Now’s the time. Let’s drop the money bomb on Monsanto and take back our food supply!
Thanks for participating in food democracy,
President, Food Democracy Action!
P.S. All money raised for this campaign will go through Food Democracy Action!, a 501(c)4 allied organization of Food Democracy Now!, focused on grassroots lobbying and legislative action. Donations are not tax-deductible. Thank you for your support!
1. “GMO ‘Right to Know’ campaign in CT fails — Lawsuit threatened”, Digital Journal, May 5, 2012
- You’ll Probably Accidentally Eat This Toxic Food Today (articles.mercola.com)
- Food Manufacturing Editorial – Don’t Run from GMO Labeling (foodidentityblog.com)
- GMO Legislation Update: Monsanto Trumps Democracy in Vermont, Connecticut (eatdrinkbetter.com)
- GMO Labeling Initiative WILL Be On The Ballot In CA (12160.info)
- Something Historical is About to Happen – But Your Participation is Critical (articles.mercola.com)
- California Wants to Label GMOs (eatdrinkbetter.com)
- The Toxin So Dangerous It’s Causing Catastrophic Birth Defects (foodfreedomgroup.com)
- Millions against Monsanto: The food fight of our lives (blogginghounds.wordpress.com)
- California public to vote on GMO Label Act; Biotech lies begin (blacklistednews.com)
Santa Monica College Campus Police Pepper-Sprayed This Tiny Child Last Night
It wasn’t just students protesting tuition hikes who were blasted with pepper spray by campus police at Santa Monica College yesterday. This child—apparently a 4-year-old girl—was also hit. The students, and child, were pepper-sprayed to prevent them from “storming”—i.e. attending—a board of trustee’s meeting.
Is anyone keeping track of the misuses of pepper spray by badged authorities lately. The number is going up and the victims are turning out to be more and more non-criminal.
I am wondering if there are rules for pepper spray use which are equivalent to firearms use in, say, crowds of students (yeah, I remember Kent State) or laborers.
- Campus Police Pepper Spray Dozens Of Santa Monica College Students When Board Meeting Gets Unruly (losangeles.cbslocal.com)
- Santa Monica College Students Hold Another Protest Against Fee Hikes (losangeles.cbslocal.com)
- Santa Monica Students Attacked By Campus Police (occupywallst.org)
- Video: Police Pepper Spray California Students (blacklistednews.com)
This is a great idea… I got started reading it after a mention on Andrew Sullivan‘s site, and I went to the official FixUC proposal page:
. Here is the basis of the proposal direclty from the FixUC presentation:
What is the UC Student Investment Proposal?
Within the past decade, UC students have suffered from egregious increases in tuition costs. In 2011, the State of California cut $650 million in UC system funding and decreased its total support to the system by 21.3 percent. These cuts were met, yet again, with tuition hikes by the UC, and tuition for the 2011-2012 school year rose nearly 18 percent from last year’s. UC tuition has nearly quadrupled over the last decade alone.
In an effort to combat the increasing financial burdens facing students of the University of California, Fix UC has designed a comprehensive plan for the restructuring of the system by which students pay for their education. The UC Student Investment Plan will make it possible for students to attend the UC without paying any upfront costs whatsoever.
After they graduate and get jobs, UC alumni will pay a static percentage (based on 5%) of their salaries for 20 years of employment. Because payments are based on salary, no UC graduate will have to reckon with fees that he or she cannot afford. Students will no longer be held hostage by unmanageable loan payments with fluctuating interest rates and strict deadlines.
Under the Student Investment Plan, graduates will only ever have to pay a stable, predictable fraction of the money they make – that means no loans and no debt. The plan will also garner the UC enough additional revenue to free it from complete dependence on state funding and make room for long-term institutional growth.
The purpose of the plan is to reestablish the UC as an affordable option for all qualified California students while gradually reducing its reliance on undependable state monies.
Got it? Some of us are still paying our own and family members’ funding for advanced education from all over the country and the concept of colleges “investing” in their students’ futures is a solid one to me. It not only will, eventually, bring in more money to the institutions it will serve to improve the education structure…better classes make better investments.
Fix UC President Chris LoCascio recently presented an update on Fix UC to the UC Board of Regents at their meeting at UC San Francisco. The next steps will involve working with the federal government and UCOP to explore a collection system through the IRS that the UC and other American institutions can use to collect funds from graduates in the United States and abroad. This seems to mean that they are hoping to go beyond UC to other Universities. This is a plan worth getting other schools interested in… however, it should begin with student involvement to make it realistic. Here’s their organizing statement:
Fix UC is a student-created and run organization dedicated to solving the University of California’s funding crisis.
Our goal is to identify root problems and provide long-term solutions to the UC regents, with the hope that they will not only consider, but implement the plan outlined in our UC Student Investment Proposal.
As my wife, who has been an artist who associates with professional artists and has for the last 40 years, points out, the death of Thomas Kinkade will stop the production of some of the world’s most awful art.
Things like this:
…which, at best, can be called kitsch, decorate the living rooms of millions of Americans with clear plastic covered couches. Nothing says more for the need for art education in our schools… something the reactionary budget strippers cut first.
Yet, Kinkade made a fortune at it. Who would have guessed?
… but as things look now, both economically and physically, I’ll probably never get the chance.
For those not familiar with TED, here is their statement:
WHAT IS TED?
TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design — three broad subject areas that are, collectively, shaping our future. And in fact, the event is broader still, showcasing ideas that matter in any discipline. The format is fast paced: 50+ talks over the course of four days (to say nothing of the morning and evening events). This immersive environment allows attendees and speakers from vastly different fields to cross-fertilize and draw inspiration from unlikely places. This is the magic of TED.
THREE CONFERENCES EACH YEAR AND TED LIVE
Attending a TED conference is by application. There are several levels of conference membership, and attendance fees depend on which level and conference you choose. Become a TED Live member to watch both TED and TEDGlobal live in your home, school, or office.
Thankfully, the TED folks post the best lectures on YouTube and I get to enjoy them at no charge and get something important to think about.
To find out more about TED, go to
and be sure to take in some of the videos. You’ll find talks in many areas:
- global issues
Just a few days after Los Angeles California voted in a resolution that did not let Corporations be considered individuals, Bernie Sanders has proposed a Constitutional Amendment which will wipe out the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court.
Here it is:
SECTION 1. The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons and do not extend to for-profit corporations, limited liability companies, or other private entities established for business purposes or to promote business interests under the laws of any state, the United States, or any foreign state.
SECTION 2. Such corporate and other private entities established under law are subject to regulation by the people through the legislative process so long as such regulations are consistent with the powers of Congress and the States and do not limit the freedom of the press.
SECTION 3. Such corporate and other private entities shall be prohibited from making contributions or expenditures in any election of any candidate for public office or the vote upon any ballot measure submitted to the people.
SECTION 4. Congress and the States shall have the power to regulate and set limits on all election contributions and expenditures, including a candidate’s own spending, and to authorize the establishment of political committees to receive, spend, and publicly disclose the sources of those contributions and expenditures.
- Bernie Sanders Introduces OCCUPIED Constitutional Amendment To Ban Corporate Money In Politics (thinkprogress.org)
- Sanders Files ‘Saving American Democracy Amendment’ – thanks to VK (jhaines6.wordpress.com)
- Reversing ‘Citizens United’ (wcward57.wordpress.com)
- LA City Council to Vote on Citizens United Declaration (blogs.wsj.com)
There’s been an increase lately in the amount of Spam comments Under The LobsterScope is drawing… from all over the globe. Aside from the usual rush of porn services and Christian dating organizations which seem to want to play with my little atheist life, I’m getting a ton of relatively meaningless post which re really designed to get people to click on their sources, thus providing free advertising for all kinds of services, legal or spurious.
The software I use to eliminate the Spammers from the legitimate list of commentors is working just fine, thanks, but it is at times when I go away from the blog for a stretch, as I did overnight, that they tend to build up in the “check me” area (which I usually ignore.)
Here are some samples I discovered this morning (without providing any source addresses):
I’m extremely impressed along with your writing talents and also with the format on your blog. Is this a paid subject matter or did you modify it yourself? Either way stay up the excellent quality writing, it is rare to peer a great blog like this one nowadays..
(linked to a detail picture I ran almost a year ago of Los Angeles’ Watts Towers)
This is my own first time i really visit here. I found so many interesting stuff into your blog, most definitely its chat. From the a ton of comments for your articles, I’m assuming I am not the only one having every one of the enjoyment right! Keep up the good work.
(linked to another picture I ran almost a year ago of the Watts Towers)
Submit could be very well composed, and never forgetting to mention that it can be incredibly informative at the same time. Kudos for you for that excellent career well accomplished there!
(from someone who is selling a self-improvement program at his site looking for free advertising)
Greetings! I’ve been reading your blog for a long time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Austin Texas! Just wanted to say keep up the fantastic work!
(sent from someone in Gdansk… is that near Austin? BTW, also a response to a Watts Tower Detail from months ago.)
Aside from an unusual idea that if they link to a picture or article on the Watts Towers I’ll let them run their merry scam… thus telling me that their prime target is someone searching for California tourist info… The fact that they assume outrageous compliments to my posts will get them “under the rabbit fence”, so to speak, implies that they see my ego as attackable.
They also have a major lack of mastery of English (which is why so many of them seem to be coming from Russia or Poland… not to mention the ones with Chinese characters that are unreadable to me or my ID software and are thus automatically eliminated.
I assume most of this stuff is coming from automatically generated lists based on key words… I can’t imagine someone is actually wasting real, personal time trying to trick me into running their dreck. Although is someone really wants to use UTL as a vehicle for garbage promotion, I sure wish they would reconsider.
- methinks Jesus hates spam too. (growup318.com)
- “Spam?” Try “The Most Love I’ve Ever Recieved.” (anirenicon.com)
- Search Engine Spam (seowebsitetrafficconsultant.com)
- New Trends in Spamming: Spam Fused into Antispam Protection with Spamming Visitors Instead of Web Sites (keycaptchaured.wordpress.com)
- Facebook Makes It Easier to Stop Fan Spam (hubspot.com)
- Over 1,000 Spam Comments In 24 Hours! (friendswhocare.us)
- Spam Evangelism (christopherlazo.com)
- Spam! (collaborativerandomness.wordpress.com)
- Business insurance news: Malicious spam ‘could cause computer breakdown’ (premierlinedirect.co.uk)
First, let me repeat what I have said before, I love my Superfocus glasses… if it were just for seeing what I’m doing on the computer alone (or, for that matter, doing NY Times crossword puzzles with their teensy-weensy numbers and clues) they would be worth it. But there is much more… it is easier to see when I’m driving, movies are a whole new experience and my neck doesn’t hurt from moving my head up and down like I did with bi-focals.
Now that I have the basic level of praise out of the way, let me give you a view of a customer service department that left an impression on me that I am not used to from other companies. They were pleasant, understanding and quick to solve my problem (considering I’m in West Virginia and they are in California.)
I needed my liquid lenses (the back lenses… too much to explain here… go to Superfocus.com and they’ll show you how these things are constructed) looked at and have some accidental scratches removed. I was worried that this would not be under the Warranty… but my wife was seeing the same problem with hers, and apparently it was how we were cleaning dust off the lenses.) I started by calling Superfocus and speaking with a representative who immediately said they’d like to have their Quality Control guy have a look at them and then they’d fix them They emailed a UPS shipping label and packing instructions to me. THEY paid for the shipping (that won my stingy heart right there) and I got a tracking number so I could make sure it got there.
Two days after they received the package they had looked at it, replaced the lenses and frames, and sent it back to me by priority mail I know, you are saying “so what?”… any company would do that on a warranty product. But let me tell you this, they were able to send me the completed job right away BECAUSE THEY STARTED MAKING ME A NEW SET OF FRAMES AND LIQUID LENSES BEFORE THEY EVEN RECEIVED MY ORIGINALS.
What’s more, they made a new set for my wife because I had mentioned she was having the same problem… and they shipped them before she even sent her other frames back (the also forwarded a free package label so she could do that now.)
Today, we both received our updated frames and liquid lenses and they were perfect… we also got a phone call and e-mail letting us know that everything was covered, fixed and on the way back… and they thanked us for being customers.
I couldn’t recommend these folks any higher (so I’m putting a copy of one of their ads here, on the house.)
“Is there some thought being given to subsidizing the clearing of rain forests in order for some countries to eliminate that production of greenhouse gases? Or would people be supportive of cutting down older trees in order to plant younger trees as a means to prevent this disaster from happening?”
Rohrabacher was questioning Todd Stern, the Obama administration’s climate change envoy, on whether the nation’s climate policy should focus on reducing the more than 80 percent of carbon emissions produced by the natural world in the form of decaying plant matter.
And was he serious about this question… it seems like he was. So let’s cut down the rainforests and turn the world into an oxygen-depleted desert. Perhaps he doesn’t realize that forests soak up more than 1/3 of the world’s carbon emissions… and maybe we would do better to not cut down any more forests…ever.
Rep. Rohrabacher may not be that far out of the GOP thinking on the environment. It was his fellow Californian Ronald Reagan who claimed in 1981 that: “Trees cause more pollution than automobiles do.”
Is the lack of thinking problem endemic to California? Or to Republicans? Or just to Congressmen in general? As Mark Twain said:
“Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”
- Republican’s Climate Solution: Clear-Cut the Rain Forest (green.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Lawmaker Explores Climate Solution in Clearing Rain Forests (dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com)
- GOP Rep. Rohrabacher Doesn’t Believe in Climate Change, But Wants to Clear the Rainforests Anyway (littlegreenfootballs.com)
- Do trees cause global warming? (politico.com)
- Republican Blames Trees for Global Warming [Science] (gawker.com)
I offered ideas to two different community theatres last fall, but neither responded with an opportunity. Maybe it’s me… I wish I knew, then I could fix it.
The Fantasticks, Occupant (Edward Albee), I Can Get It For You Wholesale (a musical that is never done anymore), my friend Charlie Leipart’s musical Thorstein Veblen‘s Theory of the Leisure Class (I’ve wanted to do this one for years and I’ve kept in touch with Charlie Hoping it will come off someday. It was done last year in California under a new title. A while ago, while I was living in Laurel, Md., I came very close to doing it), Ionesco‘s Rhinoceros (another one of my old favorites and one that you don’t see much.)
Anybody in the Eastern Panhandle region looking for a well-reviewed and experienced director?
- Edward Albee interview: ‘I think of myself as a composer’ (telegraph.co.uk)
- Can You Be Too Cheerful? (m.psychologytoday.com)
- Interview: Prof. Randy Ward on Designing “Fantasticks’” Set (vtsopac.wordpress.com)
We had quite a good morning… lots of talk on current issues…poetry and prose readings on the subject of “insanity” (this, in case people tuned in ready to hear the “Are You Crazy?” section with John’s resident psychiatrist)… and a long phone call from our friend Mark.
It’s nice getting out of the house on a Wednesday morning, although I have to get up at 6:oo AM to do it… I’m a late sleeper, since it takes me so long to fall asleep at night. The parking in downtown Shepherdstown (which covers two whole blocks) is really good this early in the morning – plus the Shep U students are on Spring break so there are no cars around. With the exception of the WSHC broadcast area, Knutti Hall is like the dead zone.
Anyway, now I’m back home getting ready to walk the dogs. Then I’ll get around to setting the trap for the small creature who is digging holes in our backyard garden area. I hope you all… Japan Tsunami and Wisconsin union activities aside… have a nice day.
President Obama, in his State of the Union Message, told America that it had to get back to invention and innovation… the things that made us great and that were now happening in other countries. He was talking about automobiles and machines of industry, but last week one of the true heroes of American innovation, who invented a unique product, raised a family and sent his children to school on the profits, and sold his company shortly before his death for $20 million.
Who was this great man and what was his invention? In 1956 Milton M. Levine co-created the Ant Farm with his brother-in-law, E. J. Cossman, something millions of American children have used to learn about the dynamic activities of Pogonomyrmex californicus — red ants from California — as they tunnel and create “underground” communities.
Originally selling for $1.98, Levine sold mostly through mail order the 6″ x 9″ plastic “farm” with clear plastic sides that revealed the tunneling insects. Demand was so great that a 10″ x 15″ model soon followed.
If you were a fourth grader like me who ordered the ant farm, you waited for it to come in the mail only to discover that it contained no ants. There was a coupon which you sent in led to delivery of a plastic vial with 25 worker ants inside (no Queens, which were illegal to ship over state lines). This meant that, some weeks later you had to order more ants to replace the ones that died. Or, you could dig up your own and hope you got a queen… and were likely to find a completely different breed that “didn’t get along” with the little red guys. That’s what happened to mine.
Levine sold his company, Uncle Milton Industries, in 2010 after 54 years of producing the great American product. The original sized ant farm sells today for $10.95. Commenting on what he had learned from Pogonomyrmex californicus, Levine once said:
“I found out their most amazing feat yet… They put three kids through college.”
- Milton Levine, Inventor Of The Ant Farm, Dead At Age 97 (geektyrant.com)
- Ant Farm Co-Inventor Milton Levine Dies at 97 (cbsnews.com)
- Milton Levine, 97, co-creator of ant-farm toys, dies (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Ant Farm co-inventor Milton Levine dies at 97 (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Ant Farm Co-Inventor Uncle Milton Dies At 97 In Thousand Oaks (laist.com)
You know, I actually believed that Jack LaLanne would live forever. I had been tripping over his appearances on television since the 1950s, running exercise classes, selling food processors with his wife, swimming and pulling boats behind him in Long Island Sound in his 70s… he was unstoppable.
His wife, Elaine, who had been with him for 51 years, said:
“I have not only lost my husband and a great American icon, but the best friend and most loving partner anyone could ever hope for.”
LaLanne was active and exercised right up to the end, according to his agent.
A LaLanne quote:
“The only way you can hurt the body is not use it. Inactivity is the killer and, remember, it’s never too late.”
In Jack LaLanne’s case, however, respiratory failure due to pneumonia was the killer.
- Fitness Guru Jack LaLanne Dead at 96 (newser.com)
- Jack LaLanne, Fitness Expert, Dead at 96 (tvsquad.com)
- Fitness guru Jack LaLanne dies at 96 in California (omg.yahoo.com)
- Exercise pioneer Jack LaLanne died at 96 and was doing great until the very end (video) (casesblog.blogspot.com)
- Jack LaLanne Dies at Age 96 (joemygod.blogspot.com)
They are “debating” a proposal to start their committees off on putting together a new Health Care plan, pretending that the repeal they voted in yesterday is actually going through. Since it’s not, their wasting time again instead of working on legislation to create jobs and fix the economy.
“This is like Alice in Wonderland,” and commented on the discussion being the most amazing he has ever experienced in the House.
- Rep. John Garamendi: Real People Really Helped by the Patient’s Bill of Rights (huffingtonpost.com)
- The Note: Repeal, Then What? (blogs.abcnews.com)
- White House White Board: The Costs of Repealing Health Reform (whitehouse.gov)
… perhaps you could use some information comparing America’s annual costs and patient life expectations to some of the world’s other countries (most of whom have Universal Health Care). Go to
and get some stats that will make you mad as hell (and I write this on a day that California’s Blue Cross group wants to raise their health insurance rates by 59%… other states are lining up with similar increases.)
And the next time some Republican Congressional Type says we have the “Best Health Care In The World” you can assume that the speaker is rich enough to afford it. When will we get single-payer Universal Health Care like the rest of the 21st Century nations in our world?
- Would Republicans Rush To Repeal Health Law If They Could Make It Stick? (politicsdaily.com)
- What Repealing the Affordable Care Act Will Cost Families, Seniors, Small Businesses, States… (whitehouse.gov)
- Hold Republicans accountable for their health care repeal vote. (ynative77.wordpress.com)
- White House dismisses health care repeal effort (sfgate.com)
- Health-care law’s repeal would hurt millions, advocates say (dispatch.com)
Actress Anne Francis passed away today at the age of 80 due to complications of pancreatic cancer. Francis, of Ossining, New York, passed away at a retirement home in Santa Barbra, California, where she had resided for several years.
Just this past week I had been watching a Twilight Zone marathon on the SyFy channel… and one of the best pieces was one starring Anne Francis. She had done over 30 motion pictures … probably best remembered for acting in the 1956 classic science fiction film ‘Forbidden Planet.’ She was also a Golden Globe winner and Emmy nominee for her role as a female detective in the 60′s TV series ‘Honey West.’
She had been fighting cancer since 2007. She left her last official message on her web page in 2009:
“Dear Friends, Due to health issues, I’m unable to process my fan mail in a timely manner. For this reason, I am temporarily disabling the collectibles page. For those of you who’ve previously sent me fan mail and autograph requests, I’ll try to process them when I am able to do so. Thank you for your patience and understanding. Sincerely, Anne.”
- Anne Francis Passes Away (thehollywoodgossip.com)
- Anne Francis (1930-2011) (mrmovietimes.com)
- Rest in Peace Anne Francis (dreadcentral.com)
- 1 reviews of Forbidden Planet (rateitall.com)
Here’s part of the column…go into Salon.com and read the rest:
- Darrell Issa wants to hold 280 investigative hearings (dailykos.com)
- Incoming House Oversight Chair Issa Needs New Oversight (emptywheel.firedoglake.com)
- Issa walks back comment calling Obama ‘corrupt’ (via Anderson Cooper 360) (ynative77.wordpress.com)