Archive for April, 2012

Some of you may have already seen some of the things I have found in dumpsters. For those who have not, here are a few photos from past dives:

quilt from dumpster

angel from the dumpster

Stuffed ape with fruits (scrap recycle in background):
Ape and fruits from dumpster

Fruits, vegetables on dumpster chair, in dumpster basket, with dumpster drape:
Dumpster fruits and vegetables

Porcelain doll in perfect condition, with certificate of authenticity (doll has stamp on back of her neck as well):
Porcelain dumpster doll

Protective clothing (massonbennu on flickr is Mason, my husband):
The dumpster delivers.

Jars, new, in sealed boxes from the factory:
jars from  a dumpster

I will make an effort to share more photos of dumpster finds in the future- interesting and beautiful things!

note: If you see a “web page not available” error message, please refresh the page.

The Aurora by TSO Photography

Follow on

I spent a week capturing one of the biggest aurora borealis shows in recent years.

Shot in and around Kirkenes and Pas National Park bordering Russia, at 70 degree north and 30 degrees east. Temperatures around -25 Celsius. Good fun.

Available in Digital Cinema 4k.

Follow Facebook:
Follow Twitter:
Follow Google+:

Press/licensing/projects contact:

Thanks to my Sponsors:

Go here to comment or to like this video on Vimeo.

Thoughts On Bullying

Posted: April 24, 2012 in philosophy

Cross-posted at A special thank you to the MyFDL editor for helping with the image.

Image by Greg Wagoner

This morning, Mason and I logged on to our respective computers. We both have browsers that automatically open to Google, and on the Google screen, spanning the page from top to bottom, is a zipper. Out of respect and a good deal of social conditioning, I decided to leave Google’s giant fly zipped. However, I could not run to the Google news tab fast enough, because I was absolutely certain that there would be yet another news story about Secret Service folks not paying their sex workers, during working trips abroad. In my mind, I connected a closed zipper to an open fly.

Mason, on the other hand, had cursor to zipper and was saying, “Well. I guess they probably want me to unzip this.”

As you know, this was under the Google zipper. As he unzipped the zipper, and even as I was cueing the striptease music with a light, off-key, “Chik-a-wow…a-bow-ra-ow-chik-a-wow-a-wow,” I thought to myself that adult men not paying their sex workers is bullying, plain and simple.

Bullying has evolved since I was a kid. Growing up, I never heard the terms ‘bullycide’ or ‘cyberbullying.’ When I was a kid there were bullies for sure, but there were also equally strong anti-bullies who sided with the underdog being bullied and stopped the bullying. On occasion, push did come to shove on the playground, and some kid might turn up with a scrape or bruise. But in general the kids handled things, and sometimes the bullys and the bullied became friends. In high school the cliques were: jocks, heads, socials (pronounced soshes with a long o) and nerds. At the reunion many years later everyone blended with everyone else, or at least, that is the way it seemed.


note: please refresh the page if you get a “web page not available” message.

Dona Nobis Pacem – ukulele and cello
-Yo-Yo Ma (cello) and Ken Middleton (tenor ukulele)

Octopoda Octopus 20004
Octopoda Octopus 20004 image by Bill and Mark Bell, creative commons, flickr.

Once I Was a PPrince image by fabiogis50 (Fabio Gismondi), creative commons, flickr.

8257 Moray eel
8257 Moray Eel image byDiverKen, Ken Traub, under creative commons on flickr.

Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle image by Pen Waggener, creative commons, flickr.

MONUC Peacekeeper Patrols Katanga Area
MONUC Peacekeeper Patrols Katanga Area
image by United Nations Photo, creative commons, flickr.

A peacekeeper of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) with a group of children during patrols of the Katanga area.
Photo ID 163691. 01/03/2007. Katanga, Democratic Republic of the Congo. UN Photo/Myriam Asmani.

Today is Earth Day.

Dona Nobis Pacem

A polite demand.

For peace.

TimeScapes: Rapture

by Tom Lowe

Film’s website:

Follow the production at: and Facebook:

These images are part of a Smithsonian American Museum of Art set on flickr, with a fair-use statement:

Personal, educational and non-commercial use of digital images from the American Art Museum’s collection is permitted, with attribution to the Smithsonian American Art Museum, for all images unless otherwise noted.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum exhibition called Inventing a Better Mousetrap: Patent Models From the Rothschild Collection features thirty-two scale models of inventions submitted for patent in the late 1800s. The models are part of the Alan Rothschild collection, and reflect the exceptional craftsmanship of the time. Building a Better Mousetrap will run through November 3, 2013.

Sofa Bedstead image by americanartmuseum on flickr

Sofa Bedstead

Sofa Bedstead, 1877
Abraham Morris (Inventor)
mixed media 8 x 13 x 6 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Gift of Alan and Ann Rothschild

Fence Fabricating Machine image by americanartmuseum on flickr

Fence Fabricating Machine

Fence Fabricating Machine, 1888
Conrad F. Bartling (Inventor)
mixed media 12 x 17 x 7 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Gift of Alan and Ann Rothschild

Paper Bag Machine by americanartmuseum on flickr

Paper Bag Machine

Paper Bag Making Machine, 1881
Edgar Stocking (Inventor)
mixed media 9 x 17 x 9 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Gift of Alan and Ann Rothschild

Mousetrap image by americanartmuseum on flickr

Mousetrap (1 of 2)

Mousetrap, 1870
John O. Kopas (Inventor)
George W. Bauer (Inventor)
mixed media 10 x 8 1/2 x 9 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Gift of Alan and Ann Rothschild

Loom for Weaving Bonnet Braid image by americanartmuseum on flickr

Loom for Weaving Bonnet Braid

Loom for Weaving Bonnet Braid, 1865
Jefford L. Weaver (Inventor)
mixed media 14 x 7 1/2 x 5 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Gift of Alan and Ann Rothschild

Vegetable Slicer image by americanartmuseum on flickr

Vegetable Slicer

Vegetable Slicer, 1879
Anthony Iske (Inventor)
mixed media 11 x 10 x 10 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Gift of Alan and Ann Rothschild

Cross posted from my law blog and first posted as a comment to an article by my wife, Crane-Station, that she posted atFiredoglake-MyFDL.

Alzheimer’s And Dementia: I Buried Them And Then I Went Home

by Frederick Leatherman

I am an only child and, even though I had an unpleasant childhood for a variety of reasons that are not relevant to this post, I still loved them and when their health foundered, I did the best I could to ameliorate their suffering.

My dad succumbed to Alzheimer’s and my mother had a stroke after she returned home from dropping him off in the locked Alzheimer’s Unit of a nursing home. She laid on the floor in the garage for 7 days before a neighbor found her. She only partially recovered her mental faculties.
He lived another six years and she lived another seven.
I was living in Seattle at the time and when I got the news from an officer with the Fire & Rescue Department, I got on the first available flight to Myrtle Beach, SC.

He did not know where my father was and I did not find out until I arrived at the hospital and, in one of her lucid moments, my mother told me what she had done.

I knew his forgetfulness had been getting worse, but I did not know how bad it had gotten. We did not talk much because of the poisoned past. She told me that he slapped her and shoved her to the floor after she criticized him for forgetting something she regarded as important.

That was the first and only time that he hit her in their 50+ year marriage and it would be the last time. She dropped him off at the Alzheimer’s Unit later that day.

I went to see him. It was like a jail and I had to be admitted to the unit by a security guard, who unlocked the heavy steel door and admitted me to a large hellish visiting area.

Many patients wearing soiled clothes were strapped in wheelchairs. Unable to hold their heads erect and focus on a blaring television set in a corner of the room, their heads lolled from side to side as drool dripped from their mouths and unintelligible sounds emitted from their throats. The place smelled like shit.

I saw my father at the opposite end of the room talking to an unresponsive man about something. I walked up to him not knowing what to say. He noticed me approaching. He stopped in mid-sentence and faced me.

He smiled in recognition and relief. He said, “Frank, thank God you’re here. Let’s get out of here.” He put his arms around me and hugged me tight. When he let me go and stepped back still holding my hands, I saw that his eyes were moist with tears.

My name isn’t Frank. Frank was his older brother and he died 26 years ago.

My father did not know he had a son.

We chatted for awhile as I tried to fit into the conversation. I don’t recall what I said, what we talked about, or how long we talked. I remember being overwhelmed by the horror of the place and the stranger whom I used to call “Dad.”

Suddenly, I couldn’t take another minute. I released his hands and said, “I have to go the bathroom. I’ll be right back.”

I turned and walked away. I spotted the security guard and struggled to keep from running toward him and the door over which he presided.

“Let me out,” I said. “I can’t take it anymore.”

He laughed and said, “You’ll get used to it after awhile.”

I never did.

I did, however, arrange to place my mother and my father in the nursing unit of a retirement home that was a much better facility and I visited them as often as I could over the next several years as inch-by-stubborn inch they declined and briefly rallied, declined and briefly rallied, until they were no more.

My father never spoke my name and never knew who I was.

My mother criticized him for it, but he soon forgot who she was and spent the last year of his life strapped into a bed that they used to transport him back and forth between his room and the day-room.

Sometimes they left him in the hall across from the nursing station so they could keep an eye on him as they came and went.

They called me one day and told me that he died peacefully.

I buried him and then I went home.

I was there a year later when my mother passed.

I held her in my arms and kissed her goodbye when she stopped breathing.

I buried her and then I went home.

Judge Recuses Herself In Zimmerman Case

by Frederick Leatherman

As I predicted in my last post, Judge Jessica Recksiedler of the Seminole County Circuit Court in Florida signed an order today granting George Zimmerman’s motion to recuse her from presiding over the Zimmerman case.

I did not need a crystal ball or a book of spells to predict the outcome since, by advising counsel that she had a potential conflict of interest about which they might not have been aware without her telling them, she basically invited the motion to recuse and I do not believe she was the least bit offended by the motion.

The potential conflict is that her husband is employed by a criminal defense lawyer, Mark NeJame, who has been a television commentator about the case. Someone in Zimmerman’s family contacted him about representing Zimmerman after Zimmerman fired the two lawyers who were representing him. He declined to take the case, in part because he had expressed opinions about it on television, and he recommended several lawyers, including Mark O’Mara, whom Zimmerman subsequently retained.

I do not believe Judge Recksiedler had an actual conflict of interest, but I would be surprised to discover that she and her husband had not discussed the case, especially after NeJame was contacted about representing Zimmerman before the prosecutor, Angela Corey, charged him with murder second degree.

Judges are supposed to abide by a code of judicial conduct and, in addition to recusing themselves when they have an actual conflict of interest, such as a financial interest in the outcome of a case before them, they are supposed to maintain the appearance of fairness and impartiality, regardless of what they may think about a case, the lawyers, and the litigants. Since there is a possibility that someone might question her impartiality, due to her husband’s connection to NeJame, she decided to disclose it in order to maintain the appearance of fairness.

For all I know, she might not have wanted the case anyway because she is relatively new to the bench and inexperienced. She may have used the situation to get out of it. I do not know that for certain and merely present it here as a possibility.

Jennifer Preston of the New York Times reports that,

Judge Recksiedler will be replaced by Judge Kenneth R. Lester Jr., 58, who was first elected to the court in 1996. Mr. Lester graduated from the University of Central Florida with a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in accounting. He received a law degree from the University of Florida.

Zimmerman’s motion to be released on bail pending trial is set for Friday. I imagine Judge Lester will proceed with the hearing, unless he has a conflict with his schedule that necessitates rescheduling the bail hearing. Those types of hearings do not usually require a lot of preparation time for a judge.

Judge Lester will also have to schedule a hearing for the pending motion filed by various news organizations, including the Miami Herald, to unseal the court file.

The issues at the bail hearing will be whether Zimmerman is a flight risk or a danger to the community and whether there are conditions of release that could be imposed that would not endanger anyone in the community and assure that Zimmerman makes all his court dates.

Since he turned himself in, I think he’s shown that he probably is not a flight risk and it’s possible that he might be released subject to the following conditions:

1. Reside at home and wear an ankle bracelet and GPS locator at all times;

2. Not possess a firearm;

3. Remain in contact with his lawyer;

4. Check-in daily with the court’s pretrial supervision officer and follow any orders the officer might impose; and

5. Post a cash bail in some substantial sum of money (apparently, murder second degree is not a bondable offense).

A bond is a promise to pay a certain sum of money in the future, if the defendant fails to show up in court when he is supposed to be there.

Let’s say bail is set in the amount of $100,000. It probably will be substantially higher but $100,000 is an easy number with which to work, so I will use it. Zimmerman could get out by posting $100,000 cash with the Seminole County Circuit Court Clerk, or if the offense were bondable, he could post an approved unencumbered real estate property bond with a fair market value of at least $100,000 together with a quitclaim deed quitclaiming the property to the Clerk of the Court and recording the transaction with anything but MERS. Yes, that’s snark. He would record the transaction in the county recorder’s office.

Or he could post 10% of the bail ($10,000 cash) with a bail bondsman and property worth $100,000. When someone goes with a bail bondsman, the bondsman posts its promise, or bond to pay the full amount of the bail to the Clerk of Court, if the defendant fails to make his court appearances. The 10% cash amount up front is called the principal and bondsman gets to keep that as the fee for posting the bond, regardless if the defendant makes all of his court appearances.

The property that secures the bond that the bail bondsman posts with the Clerk is called the security or collateral and, if the defendant makes all of his appearances, the bail bondsman will return it to the person who posted it when they showed up with the 10% cash fee.

Since murder is not a bondable offense in Florida, however, the bail bondsman option is unavailable to Zimmerman and he will have to come up with the cash.

But he has to pay the lawyer’s retainer first and I imagine that it is substantial, probably well in excess of $100,000. Whether there will be enough money left over to post a cash bond is anybody’s guess. I imagine that there has been some mad scrambling going on in the Zimmerman family to get together enough cash to do both. We will have to wait and see what happens.

Cross posted from my law blog.