The Electric Mule-100 rats running in all directions- some observations on S.E. Asia & Wall Street PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kurt Hoffman   
Saturday, 04 April 2009 22:08

Hello to everyone in 'the Cloud' of cold, dark, and endless sigh-burrr-space:


While travelling and videotaping in China for 6 months in 1988 (about 1000 years ago in the Tang dynasty- the Chinese invented 'Tang' didn't you know!), at a particularly noisy and dangerous time at Chinese New Year in Guilin (the karst limestone landscape on which Chinese artists base their brush paintings), I discovered a type of fire cracker called '100 rats running in all directions'.  If you have ever been underneath one of these explosions tossed out of a 2nd story window (as I have been!), you will remember it. Since I never met a 'met-A-4' I didn't like, I will use it in this blog to launch a shot-gun blast of scattershot observations.

Last Updated on Sunday, 12 April 2009 16:05
The Electrib Mule-Laundering filthy lucre without detergent (in the Triangle made of gold) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kurt Hoffman   
Saturday, 04 April 2009 22:05

Hello to all of you Dot-Communists in Cyberspace:


I am trying to be 'straight' and 'factual' in my missives to ya'all, but it is extremely difficult!  My hooves keep hitting the wrong keys.  Have you ever tried typing with a pair of horseshoes attached to you hands?  Then your back feet get in the way- but how I acquired a 4-footed keyboard will have to wait for another occasion.


Oh, by the way- in my last report, I forgot to mention that Cheng and Eng, the original Siamese twins, were very attached to each other.  I just couldn't let that fact go by!.

Last Updated on Saturday, 25 April 2009 10:57
The Electric Mule--Foreign Correspondent "Blessed be the Thai That Binds" PDF Print E-mail
Written by Ernest Gusella   
Saturday, 04 April 2009 21:49

"The Electric Mule" will be a regular posting to our front page and our  "Global Studies" People section.  The author is on a 5 month travel of Asia with his wife.  He will write from his unique perspective of his travels and offer non-sequiturs to current events in the world.

Hello Again to Everyone out there in Radioland:

The East is Red (especially when the sun rises in the morning!).  And to coin a phrase:

'it's a long, long way from the green, green grass of home'

Tomiyo and I are now in our 3rd day in Bangkok (I remember a childhood joke which I heard sitting around waiting as a caddy at the Country Club- Confucious say: Man who rush thru airport turnstiles bound to... you fill in the rest!).  'Thailand, the Land of Smiles' has been engaged in political bickering since we were here last year.  Remember?  300,000 tourists were stranded at the international airport for about a month!  The 'yellow' Bangkok elites are still engaged in a confrontation with the countryside 'reds', who accuse the military and royalists of usurping democracy by installing a new prime minister (without elections!). Whinemeal, the on-the-lam former Prime Minister Thaksin is sitting somewhere in an Arab country sending telephone and video messages to rallies of his followers, attacking the current government and complaining about his current cuisine of camel meat and camel milk (and probably heated over camel dung!).. Who knows?  In Asia, nothing is as it semms- everything is wheels within wheels within wheels (on the road and in the mind!).

Last Updated on Saturday, 04 April 2009 22:25
Savage River Watershed Affirms Vision Statement PDF Print E-mail
Written by Savage River Watershed Association   
Tuesday, 31 March 2009 10:27

Partners in protecting Maryland's 'crown jewel' watershed identify core mission

                On a cold Saturday morning in January, a group of concerned citizens gathered at the Route 40 Elementary School to voice their opinions about the current state of the Savage River watershed and to create a vision about what they hope it will look like in coming years. The meeting was hosted by the Savage River Watershed Association (SRWA) who will use this information to develop a plan on how to better realize this vision laid out by the community. This 'visioning' session gained community opinions about the current and future state of watershed, its rules and regulations, environmental conditions, future land uses, andview of savage river why it is such a cherished and unique part of Maryland. 
     Participants came from different locations throughout the state and shared a diverse range of opinions about what they would and would not like to see in the watershed. A series of questions developed by SRWA and partnering organizations were asked and a draft 'vision statement' was developed. When SRWA asked the participants to name the most important aspect of the watershed, many folks talked about the rural character, the unfragmented forests, and mountainous terrain, while others noted the quality of the streams and brook trout habitat were most important. When asked what they liked most about the watershed, participants said they enjoyed the open spaces, lack of development, the many recreation opportunities and the working farms to name a few. When asked what they liked least about it they responded with more diverse answers. Some said they didn't like the many regulations on fishing while some wished there was more regulations on development. Many expressed their dislike of invasive plants and animals, such as the hemlock wooly adelgid, while others voiced their concerns about stormwater runoff from the roads.  All agreed, however, that the Savage River watershed is the crown jewel of Maryland watersheds and should be kept so for future generations to enjoy. 
     During the visioning session in January, a visioning statement was drafted and, a final visioning statement was voted on and approved at the SRWA public meeting March 19th. It is as follows: 

     Our vision for the Savage River watershed is a rural area filled with well-managed forests,

well-maintained farms, and high quality ground- and surface-water resources. 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 April 2009 17:58
Coltsfoot--Weed or Wonder? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mary Spalding   
Wednesday, 25 March 2009 15:26


Coltsfoot close-up.  Photo by Lisa Sheirer.


A weed is no more than a flower in disguise,

which is seen through at once,

if love give a man [or woman] eyes.

--James Russell Lowell


One of the earliest flowers of the season can now be seen on roadsides in the area.  The little dandelion-like bloom, Tussilago farfara, is known as coltsfoot because its leaves are shaped like a horse's hoof.  Don't look for those leaves yet, though.  According to, "An old name for Coltsfoot was Filius ante patrem (the son before the father), because the star-like, golden flowers appear and wither before the broad, sea-green leaves are produced."  Other common names for this perennial plant include coughwort, hallfoot, horsehoof, ass's foot, foalswort, fieldhove, bullsfoot, and donnhove (possibly from "donn" meaning horse, as in "donkey") (  Coltsfoot first arrived in North America from England.  Its taxonomic rank is Magnoliopsida:  Asterales: Asteraceae.  In other words, it is in the daisy family.

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 March 2009 13:06
The Electric Mule-- 'iPod, iPhone, iTourist'- Crossing my Rubicons and Dotting My Eyes PDF Print E-mail
Written by Foreign Correspondant-Ernest Gusella   
Saturday, 04 April 2009 22:00

"The Electric Mule" will be a regular posting to our front page and our  "Global Studies" People section.  The author is on a 5 month travel of Asia with his wife.  He will write from his unique perspective of his travels and offer non-sequiturs to current events in the world.

Hello to Everyone in Radio and Televison and Computerland:  The beat goes on.


Tomiyo and I are in Chaing Mai in northern Thailand- on the edge of the Golden Triangle (where opium production is increasing according to the Bangkok Post), after a train trip from Bangkok which was 7 hours late due to an engine breakdown in the middle of the night.  The ride reminded us of AMTRAK train trips we took from New York to DC in the past which were supposed to last 3 hours but took 5 (thanks to lack of support for public transportation in the US!).

Last Updated on Sunday, 12 April 2009 15:59
Carpenters In The Forehead/ The Confederate Flag Redux PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Davis   
Saturday, 04 April 2009 19:29

Carpenters In The Forehead/ Confederate Flag Redux,

Or just a little poke in your eye


Okay, maybe it's just a harmless cultural symbol, and maybe I'm being overly sensitive, making a mountain out of a mole-hill, seeing a sly, malicious message beneath the veneer of the so-called gallant South.  But I cannot escape the astonishment at why the Cumberland Times -News would print an announcement/quasi-article celebrating the Confederate flag and the Southern turncoats who tried to destroy our nation.


Given the recent racial history of our community that has tarnished our image in the eyes of many people near and far, it makes you wonder about the mind-set of the newspaper.   Did they not take into account the feelings of our African-American community, as well as many others, and recognize that bigotry and racism, symbolized by the Confederate flag, persist in our neighborhoods?

Last Updated on Sunday, 05 April 2009 07:28
Carpenters In The Forehead/ Fact Checking and the Truth PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Davis   
Sunday, 29 March 2009 12:37


Carpenters In The Forehead/  Fact Checking and the Truth


In a recent column I took to task the Pope for his comments in regard to the use of condoms and the prevention of AIDS (see Once Again the Catholic Church Amazes and Bewilders the World).  One of our readers replied via e-mail and chastised me for being inaccurate, as well as immoral, as a result of my failure to check the facts:


"Your article ‘carpenters in the forehead...' is riddled with factual inaccuracies. It obviously was not fact-checked, you simply regurgitated a bunch of mis-information, and added some vitriol to qualify it as an opinion piece.  In fact, the world's most respected and authoritative scientific scrutineers fully support the pope's position. His statement is scientifically sound, rational and logical.  Check the facts:   "The pope is correct, or put it a better way, the best evidence we have supports the pope's comments. He stresses that "condoms have been proven to NOT be effective ..." (Edward C. Green, director of the AIDS Prevention Research Project at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies)

Coming from a background in science and steeped in a long-standing habit of persnickety adherence to the use of the scientific method and the application of facts in a logical, coherent manner, I felt obligated to do further research into these contentions.  For if my "facts" are in fact invalid, I need to make an honest reassessment and to amend my opinion, as well as to apologize for any inaccuracies.

Last Updated on Sunday, 29 March 2009 19:18
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