February 5th, 2009

alan - morning glory center

Good Morning!

Rain was predicted last night but it hadn't come.  Three year old Zach and I were by the bay watching the tide come in and one Great White Egret who caught three fish in about three minutes.  Zach then became an egret, stepping carefully with high, slow, leaning steps through the grass.  He never caught a fish, but didn't seem to care. 

The sky was an amazing array of every kind of cloud, but the moon still shone last night and the stars.

I woke at one, hoping, maybe rain, tip-toed out as though to see if Santa had come.  I opened the door and it was softly raining, so I stayed up and meditated from 1 to 3 in celebration.   I rose at five and now I'm ready to head to Muir Woods for a scheduled walk with a friend.  The rain is soft and the trees will shelter us.  This is not a storm.   We need more than this, and we are at the place like the people in one of Arthur C. Clarke's stories where they saw the su
n so rarely it was a major celebration.  We are now celebrating every drop of water that falls. 

Here is an excerpt from the news in Bolinas, a nearby coastal town, in the SF Chronicle yesterday.  It is written by Kelly Zito.

The oceanside enclave in Marin County has enacted some of the state's toughest water restrictions. Each customer - with the exception of schools and some businesses - may use no more than 150 gallons a day, about 4,500 gallons each month.

A third violation of the order would allow the Bolinas Community Public Utility District to cut off water.

Without drastic cutbacks, officials say, the community of 1,200 could run out of water by the end of April. The town on the southern end of the Point Reyes Peninsula already is drawing from two emergency reservoirs, one of which is effectively empty.

Drying reservoir

One look at the reservoir known as Woodrat II tells the tale. At this time of year, the town usually draws its water from the Arroyo Hondo Creek, leaving the reservoir full to the brim.

But with creek flows at a dribble, Bolinas started drawing from the reservoirs last year. Woodrat II's 40-foot-long banks now are dry and cracked. The water, which looks thick and sludgy, barely covers the outtake pipes. And storms forecast for this week aren't likely to boost water levels much.

"It's August out here," said Bill Pierce, chief water and wastewater operator for the utility district. "The hills are brown - they should be green. The stream flows are a trickle."

Almost every water agency in the state is suffering. Most reservoirs are at rock-bottom levels after two parched years and a third under way. Demand from cities has continued to grow, and recent environmental disputes have slashed pumping from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, which serves two-thirds of California.

Perhaps that helps you understand why I am so excited to look out and see rain.

alan - lilies in the shade

The wondrous mind -

I've been reading Daniel Tammet's book, Embracing the Wide Sky, A Tour Across the Horizons of the Mind.

He recited the mathematical constant Pi (3,141....) from memory to 22,514 decimal places in March 2004. It took five hours and nine minutes. He explains in the book why that is not magic, and shows how we are smarter than we think and gives ways to better utilize the mind.


Here's a little test. I was pleased to get them all right. See how you do. Enjoy!

1. Does the adjective "pambalaa" in the Siwu language of Africa describe (a) a round fat person or (b) an angular thin person?

2. Is the word "durrunda" Basque for (a) a quiet or (b) loud noise?

3. Do the Japanese colors "aka" and "midori" mean (a) red and green or (b) green and red?

4. The Malay verb "menggerutu" refers to someone who (a) laughs or (b) grumbles?

5. Is the Italian "piro piro" a kind of (a) fish or (b) bird?

6. Do the Hungarian adjectives "nagy" and "kicsi" mean (a) big and small or (b) small and big?

7. If a Samoan says "ongololo" is he taking about a (a) centipede or (b) ant?

8. In the Aboriginal Yir-Yoront language of Australia does the word "chichichi" refer to a dog that is (a) sitting, or (b) running?

Answers: 1. A, 2. B, 3. A, 4. B, 5. B, 6. A, 7. A, 8, B

turkey vultures

Fun with Words -

Here are the winners of this year's Washington Post's Mensa Invitational which once again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition:

1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.

2. Ignoranus: A person who is both stupid and an asshole.

3. Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you
realize it was your money to start with.

4. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

5. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

6. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

7. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high

8. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

9. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

10. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

11. Karmageddon: It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.

12. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

13. Glibido: All talk and no action.

14. Dopeler Effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

15. Arachnoleptic Fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

16. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

17. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating.

The Washington Post has also published the winning submissions to its yearly contest in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words. And the winners are:

1. Coffee, n. The person upon whom one coughs.

2. Flabbergasted, adj. Appalled by discovering how much weight one has gained.

3. Abdicate, v. To give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

4. Esplanade, v. To attempt an explanation while drunk.

5. Willy-nilly, adj. Impotent.

6. Negligent, adj.. Absentmindedly answering the door when wearing only a nightgown.

7. Lymph, v. To walk with a lisp.

8. Gargoyle, n. Olive-flavored mouthwash.

9. Flatulence, n.. Emergency vehicle that picks up someone who has been run over by a steamroller.

10. Balderdash, n. A rapidly receding hairline.

11. Testicle n. A humorous question on an exam.

12. Rectitude, n. The formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.

13. Pokemon, n. A Rastafarian proctologist.

14. Oyster, n. A person who sprinkles his conversation with yiddishisms.

15. Frisbeetarianism, n. The belief that, after death, the soul flies up
onto the roof and gets stuck there.

16. Circumvent, n. An opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.

Alan - sunrise - Palm Springs area

Blonde joke -

Because I am a natural blonde, turning a bit white these days, I am sent a good many blonde jokes.  This one arrives today. 

     A blonde city girl marries a Colorado rancher.

                        One morning, on his way out to the fields, the rancher says to her,'The

                        insemination man is coming over to impregnate one of our cows today.

                        I drove a nail into the 2 by 4 just above the cow's stall in the barn.

                        You show him where the cow is when he gets here, OK?'

                        The rancher leaves for the fields. After a while, the artificial

                        insemination man arrives and knocks on the front door.

                        The wife takes him down to the barn. They walk along the row of cows and

                        when she sees the nail, she tells him,'This is the one, right here.'

                        The man, assuming he is dealing with an airhead blonde, asks, 'Tell me,

                        lady,'cause I'm dying to know; how would YOU know this is the cow to be bred?'

                        'That's simple. By the nail over its stall,' she explains very confidently.

                        Laughing rudely at her, the man says, 'And what, pray tell, is the nail for?'

                        She turns to walk away and says sweetly over her shoulder, 'I guess it's

                        to hang your pants on.'